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Thank you for leading the way in the fight against hunger

Community First branches provided collection points for donations; Greater Fox Cities Chapter of Credit Unions offered matching funds

Sunday, December 15, 2019
A shopping cart full of donated food items in Waupaca. Thirty grocery bags full of food in one corner of the Fox Cities. And lots of individual cash donations by Community First member-owners during October helped support hungry families through Stock the Shelves 2019.
Collectively, the generosity of Community First member-owners totaled almost $3,000 ($500 more than in 2018) along with lots of nonperishable food items left in shopping carts at our 25 full-service branches to help replenish dwindling supplies at local food pantries between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Stock the Shelves is an annual campaign organized by USA TODAY WISCONSIN in partnership with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, the state’s largest food bank with facilities in Little Chute and Milwaukee.

Community First was one of 14 credit unions from the Greater Fox Cities Chapter offering matching funds – up to $25,000 in the Fox Cities, up to $9,000 in Green Bay, up to $6,000 in Oshkosh and up to $2,000 in the Lakeshore area. Since its start in 2010, Stock the Shelves has raised almost $5 million to boost food pantries throughout the region.

All told, the 2019 Stock the Shelves collection raised enough for 474,000 meals to benefit hungry families in our communities.

Staff at each branch was able to send the donated food items to local food pantries or to Feeding America.

Kimberly, Darboy, Lake Park and Ballard branches pooled their donated items and presented 30 grocery bags full to Fox Valley Christian Fellowship, a food pantry near the Kimberly branch. “They are amazing and were so thankful for such a wonderful donation,” said Kimberly Branch Manager Katie Gerhartz.

Members who use the Nichols branch donated a fair amount of non-perishable food for Seymour-based Community 2000 that services the Shiocton and Nichols areas. “They are a food pantry and also provide clothing, shoes, housewares, personal items, cleaning supplies, etc. to individuals and families that are at or below the poverty line,” said Nichols Assistant Branch Manager Tracy Baeten, who used to work there. “I’m passionate about their mission and the great things they do for people in need.”

In Waupaca, Receptionist Renee Popp walked a cart full of donated food items to the food pantry a block away from the branch.

 “The Waupaca Area Food Pantry does a tremendous job helping families and individuals who need a boost, especially around the holidays,” she said. “They were so thankful, especially since the donations focused on items that could be incorporated into a Thanksgiving dinner.”

Other food pantries that received donated food items were: Pillars (Richmond branch), Father Carr’s (Oshkosh Westowne), Oshkosh Food Pantry (South Park), Paul’s Pantry (Bellevue, Howard and De Pere branches), Neenah Emergency Pantry (Forest and One Menasha branches), Waupaca Area Food Pantry (Waupaca), St. John’s Christian Food Pantry (New London), Two Rivers Ecumenical Pantry and Manitowoc County Salvation Army.

“Once again our members inspired us with their generosity,” said Cathy Mutschler, Senior VP of community relations. “Thank you to everyone who played a part!”


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