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Plum City Food Pantry weighs in

From left to right are: Jeff Von Holtum, winning farmer, Leonard Dodson, Plum City Food Pantry coordinator, and Kevin Altendorf, Asgrow/DEKALB territory sales manager.

PLUM CITY--Food pantries always need donations for food, but people often don't realize there are a lot of other costs to consider.

The Plum City Food Pantry has already purchased a floor scale and will now be able to move several of their freezers outside to cut cooling costs, thanks to America's Farmers Grow CommunitiesSM.

Grow Communities gives farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for their favorite local nonprofit organizations. Jeff and Kelly Von Holtum and family won in Pierce County. They knew the food pantry needed funding and directed the donation to the food pantry.

"The food pantry has been in operation for a few years now," said Jeff Van Holtum. "They serve a lot of people. It's about as local as we can get to keep the money in our little community."

Although the food pantry usually uses donations strictly for food, they will use this $2,500 donation to pay for the much-needed operational improvements.

"The rent and utilities are all donated by the building owner," said Plum City Food Pantry Coordinator Leonard Dodson. "It's required that we keep the building at 70 degrees and, because the freezers give off a lot of heat, we have to constantly run the air-conditioning to keep it cool.

"The building owner has asked us to cut down on air-conditioning costs, and by moving the two compressor freezers outside, we'll be able to able to do that," Dodson said.

"This donation will allow us to hire someone to move the freezers outside, mount them on the wall and run the electricity and Freon out to the freezers," Dodson said.

The pantry was also able to purchase a floor-scale for weighing food going in and out of the food pantry.

"All the food at the food pantry has to be weighed before it goes out the door," Dodson said. "Our elderly volunteers had trouble lifting the food out of shopping carts to weigh them before.

"Now the shopping carts can be rolled right up on to the scale to be weighed," Dodson said. "The volunteers are so glad to have it and it makes everything go much faster."

In a ceremony held on March 21 at the food pantry, Von Holtum got the chance to present the pantry with the $2,500 donation.

"We are so, so glad to be able to receive this donation from the Monsanto Fund," Dodson said. "It has already made such a difference for the Plum City Food Pantry."

Grow Communities is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund to invest in farm communities such as Pierce County. It aims to highlight the important contributions farmers such as the Von Holtum family make every day to society.