Local food pantries seeing greater need

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 10:07 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Food pantries in Wausau say they are seeing an increase in traffic as the cost of living continues its rapid rise over the last several months.

The Neighbors’ Place in Wausau typically helps about 1200 families stay food secure per month, but Executive Director Donna Ambrose says that’s been climbing steadily since the beginning of the year.

“We’ve had over 1500 households visit us in the month of June,” Ambrose said.

The Salvation Army is seeing an uptick in people needing their services too. Most of the new people they’re helping in their food bank and bread and produce area are families who were previously on the edge of making ends meet.

“For many people who are already homeless, they may not feel it as much because they already don’t have the resources,” said Development Director Ann Chrudinsky.

For people making just enough to provide for their families, higher costs means juggling expenses.

“Because of higher food and gas prices, they’re having to make really hard choices about what they can and cannot do,” Ambrose said.

Chrudinsky echoed the sentiment.

“They have to choose: Do I buy this for food or do I pay this bill?” she said.

Ambrose said gas prices are also making it more difficult for people to access resources available to them. She sees a lot of people acting as proxies for those who need the help.

“Imagine if you live in a rural pocket of the county, to drive here would really be cost prohibitive for a lot of people, so they do rely on family and friends who can come here and get groceries for them,” Ambrose said.

Both organizations also offer delivery options for people who are homebound, and if they’re not able to meet a specific need, they can often point clients in the right direction to get help from another group.

“We may have a resource, we may know of something that you might not have thought of, and that’s what we’re here for,” Chrudinsky said.

Copyright 2022 WSAW. All rights reserved.