Baraboo residents find unique way to stock food pantry

268-pound hog donated to Baraboo Food Pantry
Baraboo residents find unique way to stock food pantry

The summer can be a tough season for food pantries, when fewer people are thinking to give.

In Sauk County, one group is helping to feed dozens of families by thinking outside of the box of canned goods.

Edie Whitney now lives in Oak Park Place, a senior living community in Baraboo. However, she remembers the days spent growing up on a farm in Oregon, Ill., like it was yesterday.

“We were brought up to give and help other people,” Whitney said.

Whitney was around pigs a lot as a child, so it was no surprise to her that the community raised a couple hundred dollars to chip in for one at the Sauk County Fair.

Oak Park Place Director of Sales Joe DeSomer was the one who was sent to the livestock auction. With some extra cash from the corporate office, DeSomer bought Annabelle, the hog, for $714.

He said never got to meet the pig’s owner, but the girl wrote him a thank you note, which he keeps close to the buyer’s plaque he received when he placed top bid for the pig.

DeSomer, Whitney, and everyone at Oak Park Place had no intention of keeping the pig.

“Never really thought that donating a hog would be that big of a deal,” DeSomer said. “Just thought it would be a nice donation.”

The donation is going to the Baraboo Food Pantry. The 268-pound swine will be butchered and handed over to director Georgette Young.

“It’s kind of a sigh of relief because meat is one of the hardest things for us to get donated,” Young said.

While donations have been pretty steady, they are half of what they are during the holiday season, Young said.

The pantry still feeds up to 390 families a month, she said.

“(The pig donation is) huge. And just in the last year with economics the way they are, it’s been, it’s been needed,” Young said.

DeSomer is excited to go back to the auction block next year, and said he hopes to partner with other businesses or organizations to buy even more livestock.

“We want to try and make this bigger and better every year,” DeSomer said.

Whitney agreed the community should always be looking to do more.

“Why not?” Whitney noted. “Helps us, helps them. Helps everybody.”

Young estimated the donated pork will be able to feed at least 100 families.