TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) — Data shows the overall poverty rate in Monroe County is over 11 percent.
Although it is lower than the national average – around 18% – too many families still struggle to put food on the table.
Leaders of the Tomah Health Community Foundation say one of its main goals is to support other nonprofit organizations that are making a difference for families in the county.
And they felt it was necessary to lend a hand to get more meals on family tables.
No matter how hard pantries try to get people back on their feet, there are still families out there who need to make ends meet.
“People always need to eat, and it never goes away,” said Second Harvest FoodShare outreach specialist Brian Larson.
Food pantries like Second Harvest Foodbank provide these meals throughout Monroe County.
But sometimes people aren’t sure exactly what benefits pantries can offer.
Larson knows this experience first-hand from a Tomah family he spoke with.
“She was telling me how she heard about the (Tomah) mobile pantry (Second Harvest), but she never had contact with us,” Larson said.
Larson says a woman and her husband turned to Second Harvest’s FoodShare program after they both lost their jobs.
And the program helped them make ends meet before they each found a job.
“It helped all the time,” Larson said. “But especially during the pandemic, it was really, really beneficial.”
Larson says 125,000 people in southwestern Wisconsin live off the benefits of Wisconsin FoodShare.
That’s a 25% increase from before the pandemic.
So to make sure more families continue to be fed, the Tomah Health Community Foundation donated $3,000 to Second Harvest’s FoodShare program.
“Just because we’ve done an audit doesn’t mean the need isn’t ongoing,” Tomah Health Community Foundation President Peter Reichardt said. “So we are happy to be able to support them and their service to our community.”
“This $3,000 will go a long way toward connecting with more people in Monroe County,” Larson said.
Connecting with families who need it most one at a time.
Second Harvest Foodbank operates in Monroe, Vernon and Crawford counties.
Reichardt says the Tomah Health Community Foundation has supported Second Harvest Foodbank for eight years.
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