10/08/2019- Local Boy Scouts and St. Vincent de Paul food pantries are joining forces to combat hunger this season. After the traditional fall Scouting for Food drive was nixed nationwide, area troops hashed out a new plan with representatives of St. Vincent in both Marinette and Menominee and now, instead of taking to the streets, they’ll take to the stores. Jack Nicholas with the Menominee St. Vincent says they’ll collect donations from shoppers at all three area Jack’s Fresh Market locations this Saturday to keep the pantry shelves stocked for families in need.
“As customers enter the store we’ll have scouts there who will be handing bags to the customers- Scouting for Food bags- and asking them to shop for a few food items and put them in some carts as they go through the check-out.”
The need for food pantry assistance remains consistent year-round, and, according to Kalyani Grasso with the Marinette St. Vincent de Paul, those figures have grown significantly over the past few years. The median household income for the area is around $36,000, while the basic cost of living is estimated to be closer to $58,000.
“We have seen an increase in the number of people who come (to the food pantry) over the last three years. We’ve seen that increase almost by an exponent of three. Our combined food pantries meet the needs currently of about 10,400 food pantry visits each year and that amounts to about 120 visits each week.”
Some of the most-needed items at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantries include peanut butter, spaghetti, and canned soup. Monetary donations will also be accepted at Saturday’s food drive.