Supporting With Hope- Community Resources

By fcrnew
4 min read

Recently our agency went to tour other agencies in the community to learn about resources available for those in need. As a family resource center, we refer to many community organizations as a network of support. We wanted to get a feel and insight to what happens after we refer our clients to these organizations. One of the agencies we visited that has left an imprint in my mind was Paul’s Pantry.

As an Early Childhood Consultant working mainly with childcare providers, I’m not as connected with what’s available in the community and the referral side of things. I was unaware how our agency is so connected to the community and how much we help those in need. As a referral agency we refer out to anything the client may need assistance with. One of a number of resources we refer clients, who are in need, to is to Paul’s pantry.

Paul’s Pantry was started as a result of a need to care for hungry people in the community who are unable to purchase enough food for their family as a result of their meager or no incomes. Paul’s Pantry is more than just an emergency food pantry. Its goal is to provide a family with enough food every week, for as long as needed, so that they may use their food dollars for shelter, utilities and other necessities to avoid becoming homeless.

The pantry receives no federal, state or local tax revenue it relies entirely on the community, a three way partnership made up of volunteers, food suppliers, and donors. Paul’s Pantry has a volunteer board of directors, overseeing its operation. The pantry was founded in 1984 by the late Leo Frigo.

I moved to the green bay area so I was unaware who Leo Frigo was and how much an impact he had been on the community. Leo Frigo devoted his life to helping others. After he retired as the President of Frigo Cheese, he took it upon himself to start a food pantry in Green Bay.

Leo realized that the amount of food being thrown away by business was shameful and that the unsaleable but edible food could be used to benefit the needy in our local community. He visited all the local grocery stores begging for their surplus unsaleable food, even going as far as jumping into the dumpsters to retrieve food when it was denied.

Leo Frigo obtained the space in a corner of the former St. Vincent de Paul store on Webster Court, (now renamed Leo Frigo Way), Leo organized meetings of volunteers through the churches of all denominations. They have come together in rescuing over 5 million pounds of food from the marketplace each year, all inedible food is given to local livestock farmers, nothing is wasted.

“Waste not, want not,” is the philosophy at Paul’s Pantry.

This philosophy is also part of their distribution. Everyone is allowed to shop for his or her own groceries. People are not just given food they don’t like, but are allowed to choose, and take only what they will use. Again, nothing is wasted.

This also ties in with the most important component of Paul’s Pantry. To restore the hope, pride and dignity of those they serve. While this is done first by allowing a person to shop for his or her own groceries, it is also done by giving an individual the option of volunteering. Paul’s Pantry’s recipients have become valued members of our local community. Leo Frigo has truly made an impact in our community.

When we visited Paul’s pantry we learned the history, how the food is distributed, sorted, and the intake system of clients. All of this is done by volunteers. I was truly amazed how our community comes together to help one another out. I couldn’t believe the amount of volunteering that was going on from all different age ranges. I truly am proud to live in a community that comes together and appreciate everything our community does.

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