This is the season of giving and one of the biggest community campaigns happening right now is Stock the Shelves. The fundraiser, which is lead by the Post-Crescent newspaper and Gannett Wisconsin Media, will provide food for thousands of families of need. The St. Joseph Food Program in Menasha is one of the recipients. More than one-thousand families rely on the pantry each week.
"People come in the front lobby and they say 'I had no idea there were so many people who needed help,'" explained Monica Clare, Executive Director of the St. Joseph Food Program. "We've had several people lately tell us they have master's degrees. They've lost their jobs and now they're looking for some help too, so there's just a huge variety of people."
The Post-Crescent newspaper understands the growing need. So instead of just reporting on it, they're doing something about it.
"St. Joe's is a local organization, staffed by local volunteers, helping local people. What better way to give back to the community that we work in," said Dan Flannery, Executive Editor of the Post-Crescent.
Flannery is one of the driving forces behind the Stock the Shelves fundraising campaign which is now in its 18th year.
"In the last two years, we've collected about $1.1 million to benefit more than 100 food pantries and programs across the state," said Flannery.
The partnership has grown to include all 10 Gannett Wisconsin Media sites, the JJ Keller Foundation, Express Convenience Centers, Kimberly Clark and Fox Communities Credit Union where people can donate money or canned goods in shopping carts in the lobby. This year, the Post-Crescent and its partners have set a $250,000 goal. The Menasha food pantry will receive 40% of the donations which is enough money for three months worth of food.
"It's just truly amazing to see how this community pulls together to make something happen," said Clare.
"I've said it a million times. I've written it a million times. It never ceases to amaze me how much generosity and philanthropy there is in this market," added Flannery.
The Salvation Army Fox Cities, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin and other pantries and programs will also receive some of the proceeds. If you'd like to make a contribution, Stock the Shelves is accepting donations through November 25th.