About 10,000 people received food from the Beaver Dam Mobile Food Pantry last year.
The purpose of the mobile pantry, which began serving area families in 2009, is to provide immediate food assistance to people at risk of hunger in an area that is without resources, or where the existing resources require additional support. The mobile pantry has allowed Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin to provide food to families who are struggling with food insecurity in Beaver Dam and surrounding communities. Trinity Church United Methodist of Beaver Dam is the local community partner that coordinates and manages the mobile pantry. The Rev. Cherie Forret and pantry coordinator Lana Raffensperger have provided unlimited support for the mobile. Raffensperger and co-coordinators Sue Benter and Eve Fox supervise a team of 40-50 volunteers who help set up the operation and serve pantry guests on the second Saturday of each month. Distribution of food starts by 9 a.m., sometimes a bit sooner, and usually ends by 10:30 a.m. People receive food on first-come, first-serve basis. There are no eligibility requirements. Anyone from anywhere may receive food. Guests are encouraged to bring some sort of wheeled cart to transport their groceries.
In 2018, an effort to find a new home for the Beaver Dam Mobile Food Pantry was led by Tim Berkley, service area representative with Second Harvest Foodbank. A search committee was formed and met at the Blue Zones Project Dodge County office in Beaver Dam to brainstorm potential facilities — not a particularly easy task given some of the essential requirements that the mobile pantry needs to successfully distribute food. Among the top priorities for this relocation effort was a temperature-controlled facility to provide pantry guests with a comfortable waiting environment.
The result of this collaboration produced another valuable community partner for the mobile pantry, Moraine Park Technical College. Lisa Pollard, dean of the MPTC Beaver Dam Campus, led the effort to make this transition a reality.
“Moraine Park Technical College is honored to host the Beaver Dam Mobile Food Pantry every month,” Pollard said. “The college recognizes food insecurity as a community concern, and we are happy we can be a part of providing families a safe and warm place to receive the food they need.
Tim Berkley and the volunteer staff from Second Harvest Foodbank and Trinity Church United Methodist have been key partners in this initiative. The college’s connection with Blue Zones Project Dodge County made the transition a possibility.”
Berkley said, “We are so grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to host the mobile food pantry at MPTC. Lisa Pollard and the staff at MPTC have been amazing and very supportive. We couldn’t ask for a better partner. The move to MPTC has allowed us to distribute food indoors and protected from the weather. The space provides a safe environment for our guests and volunteers.”
For more information about the Beaver Dam Mobile Food Pantry, visit secondharvestmadison.org and click on “find food” then “mobile pantries.” Volunteers are always appreciated to distribute food on the second Saturday of each month. Sign up to be one of the “Food Handlers” on volunteerdodge.net.
Blue Zones Project Dodge County is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy, and social networks. The project has been brought to Dodge County by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals. Blue Zones Project is a division of Sharecare and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. To For more information, call 920-212-8511, email bluezonesprojectdodgecounty sharecare.comor visit https://dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com.