Jefferson Food Pantry Nourishes Community with Fresh and Healthy Produce Thanks to Partnership with Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative

Jefferson County, 8/7/2023

The Jefferson Food Pantry, the largest federally funded food pantry in Jefferson County, stands as a beacon of hope and sustenance, serving just under 1400 unduplicated individuals each month. While FoodShare benefits increased during the pandemic, they have since returned to pre-pandemic levels, and this reduction has made the need for accessible, fresh, and healthy food ever more critical.

The rising cost of living, coupled with the escalating prices of food, has disproportionately affected vulnerable populations, particularly senior citizens. The Jefferson Food Pantry emerges as a lifeline, offering not only sustenance but also a model that echoes that of a vibrant grocery store with a delightful farmers market ambiance.

Putting Freshness First

Visitors are greeted by a colorful produce cart displaying a diverse array of fruits and vegetables, setting the stage for a truly unique experience. Passionate volunteers engage with guests, introducing them to a variety of produce and sharing tantalizing recipes to inspire culinary exploration.

Sara Ariss, Interim Director of the Jefferson Food Pantry, emphasized, “Fresh produce plays a pivotal role in our mission to provide wholesome nourishment to our community members. Those we serve face economic hardships, and the availability of fresh produce is crucial for their health and well-being.”

Inside the pantry, fresh produce claims its place on 1/5th of the shelves, reflecting the pantry’s commitment to offering nutritious options.

Impactful Testimonials

Guests of the Jefferson Food Pantry attest to the transformative impact of this initiative. A grateful visitor shares, “I rely on the Jefferson Food Pantry for its remarkable fresh produce. My wife and I are going through financial difficulties, and with reduced FoodShare benefits, it’s a challenge. Moreover, managing my diabetes requires a healthy diet, and the pantry’s offerings are a true blessing.”

Collaborating for a Better Future

The ability to provide fresh, locally sourced produce stems from a partnership with Second Harvest Foodbank and the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative, a farmer-led initiative dedicated to securing profitable markets for its members.  Through this collaboration, the pantry can distribute over 2 tons of fresh produce each week.

“The Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative has been a game-changer for us,” shares Ariss. “The produce they provide is of exceptional quality and directly from local growers. This empowers us to serve our guests with dignity, offering them exquisite Wisconsin-grown fruits and vegetables.”

Read more information on the Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative by clicking here.

As the Jefferson Food Pantry continues to stand as a pillar of support, it embodies the spirit of community, nourishment, and resilience, demonstrating that even in challenging times, humanity can come together to create positive change.