Mercer Area Food Pantry sees drastic increase in demand
December 12, 2020
By CHARITY SMITH
MERCER, Wis. — The Mercer Area Food Pantry has seen a dramatic increase in the demand for food since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to pantry board member Louise Minisan.
“My numbers are at least a thousand (people) a week that we are feeding, and that’s pretty huge for Mercer,” Minisan told the Daily Globe. “Previously, we had about 350 people per week that we serviced.”
The pantry handles food distribution twice weekly.
On Wednesdays they distribute dairy products from the state’s milk recovery program, handing out milk, yogurt and cheese. They also distribute meat and vegetables provided through the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
On Thursdays, the pantry participates in the Farmers to Families food boxes program.
Minisan said that this week alone they distributed 436 gallons of milk, a pallet of cheese, a pallet of yogurt and 200 farm to home boxes, which have produce, dairy and meat in them.
“It’s all free. They just had to sign up. There’s no paperwork or anything,” Minisan said.
The public receives the products in a drive-thru fashion, or if they are home-bound the pantry does offer a delivery service.
According to Minisan both the Farmers to Families and the Dairy Recovery programs are open to anybody.
“There are no guidelines. It is not income based. It is open to everyone,” she said.
The time of the food distribution varies on Wednesdays as it depends on when the truck arrives. Minisan said she posts the time of the delivery on the pantry’s Facebook page. The Thursday distribution is scheduled for 11 a.m.