Dane County food pantries see record high demand

MADISON, Wis. — More people are turning to Dane County food pantries than ever before, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul said Monday.

Society leaders said the rise in demand is causing concerns about whether pantries will have enough food to respond to major disasters like extreme weather.

“The number of families using our food pantry has increased significantly from 2021 to 2022,” Society Senior Director of Client Services Chris Kane said. “We’re serving one car per minute during a three-and-half-hour span of time.”

St. Vincent de Paul is not the only pantry seeing longer lines. River Food Pantry Executive Director Rhonda Adams said over 1,300 new households in Dane County have registered for the pantry’s services since January. The Badger Prairie Needs Network reported that some people using the pantry are employed or live on a fixed income, but still cannot afford food.

“We will serve a record 35,000 individuals in 2022 – up 85% from last year,” BPNN board president Bob Kasieta said. “We stretch volunteer and funding resources so that families
have enough food, and yet it’s not enough.”