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New food shelf begins serving Plum City area

New food shelf begins serving Plum City area

@by:By Bill Kirk

@t:PLUM CITY--A need was demonstrated and the community responded.

That's the story behind Plum City's new food shelf, according to organizers Pastor Philip Bloomdahl and Leonard Dodson. The shelf started operating on the lower level of the Evangelical Free Church in the village last month.

Although the first government commodities weren't scheduled to arrive until the middle of this month, Dodson said Wednesday the Pierce County Food Pantry in Ellsworth provided some early.

"They had too much," he said, noting 647 pounds came from the county, which has promised further support.

Since then, approximately 1,500 pounds of canned goods, vegetables, fruit, frozen meat, hamburgers, turkey and more have been obtained, he said. All of the local churches have collected donated goods, plus a village-wide food drive has been conducted, as has a school district-wide drive. This spring, the local Boy Scouts and post office plan to hold collections, too.

"Six families came in on Dec. 18," he said, indicating the food shelf is open the first Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the third Thursday of the month from 3 to 8 p.m. (later hours to accommodate working people). Because the first Thursday this month was a holiday (New Year's Day), that opening is being shifted this time to this Thursday, he added.

Commodities are put out on tables set up around a room in the church, Dodson said about the twice monthly events. Qualified residents are allowed to choose from the selection, though they may be restricted to one item for certain goods, if they're in limited supply. Requirements they must meet include having an income at 185 percent of poverty level, adjusted to reflect the number of people in their households.

For emergencies at times aside from the regular openings, Bloomdahl and Dodson said phone numbers are posted on a church door for those in need to call.

Additionally, the shelf is the only one they know of in the county delivering to shut-ins, they said. Shut-ins list what items they need and others they can't use, then a group of goods is gathered for delivery to them. So far, Bloomdahl and Dodson have handled this aspect, available throughout the Plum City School District, themselves. But the pair is joined by approximately a dozen volunteers in the overall effort.

Besides the main donations, which Bloomdahl said have included some cash, other contributions have helped the food shelf proceed. Dodson said one man donated a scale and a couple donated a freezer, presently stocked with venison (the shelf can pick up meat at Pierce County Meats in Ellsworth). The church is not only allowing use of a large room and adjacent storage room, but supplied shelving for the latter.

Read more in the print version of the Herald Jan. 7.