Area food pantries well short of Thanksgiving demand

Area food pantries short 900 turkeys for annual Thanksgiving baskets
Area food pantries well short of Thanksgiving demand

Even as a delivery of fresh turkeys arrive on the loading dock of the Goodman Community Center, the Fritz Food Pantry that operates out of the center is not even close to meeting the demand.  They are trying to provide a Thanksgiving meal to 3,000 families.  They have only 2,100 turkeys and simple math tells you the problem.

“Every year we have been able to give every family a turkey.  We have 500 more families than we’ve ever had in the past.  So we do need the communities support to make sure that those extra 500 families do receive a turkey for Thanksgiving,” said Amy Mach, a manager at the Fritz Food Pantry.

While the Fritz Food Pantry is struggling to find the 900 needed turkeys to meet the demand they do have on hand something for each family that comes straight from the heart of the volunteers at the center: a homemade pumpkin pie.  The volunteers baked 2,500 pumpkin pies over the course of a few days.  Each pie carries a personalized note to the recipient family from the volunteer who baked it.

The increased demand being seen at the Goodman Community Center is mirrored at other food pantries in the area. 

“Since we moved in to this facility our food distribution has gone up 29 percent.  We’re going to exceed one million pounds of food this year if we keep on the pace that we’re going.  We’re distributing a little over 100,000 pounds of food a month now,” said Al Ripp, executive director of Middleton Outreach Ministries.

The reason for the increased demand varies.  It is believed some can be attributed to decreases in food stamp benefits.  An aging population is also believed to forcing more people to rely on food pantries.  Whatever the reason, the food pantries are facing a challenge to meet the growing need.

“It is a challenge making sure that there is enough of the fixings and turkeys that are on the shelves,” said Ripp.

If you would like more information about these two agencies or would like to help, visit their websites at: