Dane County providing another $3 million for Second Harvest Foodbank during pandemic

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MADISON, Wis. — Dane County signed a $3 million extension with Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect area residents.

According to a news release, the resolution signed by County Executive Joe Parisi doubles funding for the county and Second Harvest’s COVID-19 food partnership to $6 million.

“Second Harvest is incredibly grateful for the extension of our contract with Dane County,” said Michelle Orge, President & CEO of Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, in a statement. “This contract extension is an acknowledgement that the increased level of hunger in Dane County as a result of the pandemic is a long-term problem that requires long-term solutions. It also represents an affirmation that the efforts of Second Harvest and our amazing network of partner agencies are working to meet the needs of those facing hunger in Dane County.”

The release said the investment will increase deliveries to Dane County food pantries through the end of October and help more local residents and local food producers. The county’s efforts started in April when Parisi announced $3 million would go to help Second Harvest acquire local food for pantries through July. Officials said Second Harvest distributed more than 2 million pounds of food in Dane County from March 15 to June 6.

Parisi also announced a partnership with Badger Prairie Needs Network to bolster cold food storage capacity and act as a perishable food storage hub for the region’s food pantry system. Officials said the expanded need in food during the pandemic revealed inadequacies with storing refrigerated and frozen foods in the current distribution network.