Tomah Health Foundation donates to food pantry

Th Foundation Assists Food Pantry 10.28.20
Neighbor for Neighbor Food Pantry executive director Doug Staller, left, and Food Pantry manager Dawn Pluess accept a $3,000 donation from Tomah Health Community Foundation president Peter Reichardt and foundation treasurer Deb Welch Oct. 28.

TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) — Tomah’s Neighbor for Neighbor Food Pantry is experiencing a growth spurt during trying times. That is why Pantry executive director Doug Staller says donations from groups like the Tomah Health Community Foundation are so valuable.

Representatives of the philanthropic arm of Tomah Health donated $3,000 to the Food Pantry Oct. 28.

“The first couple of months of the pandemic our numbers dipped, but since June things have been on a steady climb,” Staller said. He said they currently serve 350 families a month.

Due to COVID-19, Staller said operations have been interesting. “We’ve gone to an outside pantry, so we are pre-bagging all the food so we can put in in people’s cars.” Staller said they also have had to reroute traffic in their parking lot and add extra outdoor lighting to help eliminate personal contact.

As for the Foundation’s support, Staller said the donation will enable the pantry to cover expenses at the facility at 111 W. Veterans Street, Tomah. “It will help us to keep operating through the end of the year,” he said. “It helps pay utility bills, puts gas in the truck and things like that to keep our operation bringing food in so we can distribute it to the community.”

Staller anticipates additional traffic as they head into the winter. “People appreciate what we are doing and we must be doing something right if the community continues to be so generous,” he said.

Foundation president Peter Reichardt said the donation meets the mission of the organization. “We are seeing an increased need in our community of organizations like the Neighbor for Neighbor Food Pantry not only from their current clients but an increased need from new clients so we are very pleased that our donation will help support their efforts.”

Reichardt said he is also happy that area businesses and residents continue to support the foundation through donations at their fundraising events thereby allowing assistance to needy groups.