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Feeding Hope: Rural pantries depending on community support to keep serving

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DEERFIELD (WKOW) -- The food and money donated during the Feeding Hope drive will not only help pantries around the Greater Madison area, but some of it will go toward pantries in rural areas as well.

At the Deerfield Food Pantry, volunteers have been working hard to support the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In a normal scenario, we would serve about 20 families -- 25 on a big week," said program manager Julie Schwenn. "We are now serving about 100 households a week."

Schwenn says the pantry is able to operate only because of hard work from volunteers and the generosity of the community.

"Especially Community Action Coalition," she said. "Everything we get from them is free, and they've been so willing to give us not only food, but guidance during this time, and that's really helped."

Schwenn says in a town that doesn't have a grocery store, the work the pantry does is crucial.

"I don't think you can put a value on the service we're providing to the community right now, or that any food pantry or healthcare worker is providing," she said.

The pantry is well stocked for now, but Schwenn has concern as she looks toward the future.

"What happens when those stimulus checks run out?" she said.

It's another reason, Schwenn says, community support is so vital right now -- to keep Deerfield fed.

"It's just that warm fuzzy feeling when you are able to help people that you know need the help, and you're not worried about being able to provide that to them," she said.

Feeding Hope donation bins will stay at grocery stores until May 31. People can donate online as well, or by texting "DONATE" to 205-782-0528 through Sunday.

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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