The need for assistance is great.
A recent USDA report showed 15% of Americans experienced food insecurity in 2009. State figures show participation in the Wisconsin's FoodShare program increased 25% from 2008 to 2009. In some parts of the state, demand shot up more than 50%.
Not everyone qualifies for food stamps and they may not be enough. That's where pantries come in. Andy Czerkas runs a food pantry, The River, in Superior, WI. On a recent Friday night, the clatter of plates and chatter of people livened up a huge warehouse where people were eating a hot dinner and picking out food for later. Czerkas says the atmosphere is really upbeat, with music and flowers on the table.
“We want people to feel welcome and have a good time," he says.
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