Food banks seeing 70% increase in demand during the pandemic get state boost

    Sorting canned goods on a long table for food bank
    Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

    With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is allocating an additional $10 million — building on an initiative Gov. Tony Evers announced in May — to two of the state’s largest hunger relief agencies, the Hunger Task Force and Feeding Wisconsin.

    It brings the Evers administration’s investment in feeding Wisconsinites in need during the pandemic to a total $25 million. This allocation will be used to purchase food for distribution, and for food storage and transportation, according to the governor’s office.

    The money will also support farmers and state food makers by purchasing their products as part of a continuing Food Security Initiative, which earlier allocated money in support grants for food banks and Wisconsin product grants. The total for Wisconsin agricultural and food industries during the pandemic is now at $75 million.

    “There isn’t a family, worker or industry that hasn’t experienced the effects of the ongoing pandemic,” said Evers in making his announcement. “This funding bridges an important gap, not only helping these organizations continue to do their good work, but also helping farmers get their goods to folks across the state and Wisconsin families put food on the table.” 

    The Hunger Task Force indicated that it would use the funds to purchase such Wisconsin products as milk, beef, pork, potatoes, cherries and cheese and have them delivered across Wisconsin to local communities. 

    “People of color, the rural poor and indigenous people who have been hard hit by the pandemic have received food, and with the food, a bit of hope,” said Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force.

    Feeding Wisconsin’s food banks are seeing a 70% increase in demand according to Stephanie Jung Dorfman, the executive director of the group, which has a statewide network of six food banks and nearly 1,000 food programs.

    “At a time when … our food banks are purchasing more food than ever before, these funds are enabling us to source great Wisconsin products to distribute to our neighbors faced with food insecurity during this challenging time,” Jung Dorfman said. 

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    Melanie Conklin
    Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.