New mobile pantry makes delivery with volunteer help - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

New mobile pantry makes delivery with volunteer help

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Rockland, WI (WXOW) -

Wafer La Crosse's new mobile food pantry made its monthly stop in Rockland and Bangor Tuesday.

Deliveries from Wafer have been making their way there for years thanks to efforts from the Bangor-Burns Fire Department Family Auxiliary.

"Our main goal is helping out the fire department," said auxiliary president Sally Rueckheim. "But we decided that contributing to our community just to make it a better place would be our number one goal."

Addressing hunger struggles became their first project, leading them to Wafer La Crosse.

"There was definite need both in families and in the senior population," Rueckheim said.

Wafer's services allows many families to lift what can be a heavy financial burden by offering some free groceries through their various food share programs. For some families like that of Andrea Smith - a Rockland resident for the past 4 years - that can make an immense difference.

"We're a family of 7, we have 5 kids," Smith said. "My husband [is] the only one that works. [I'm] not able to work myself, daycare is kind of expensive so I just stay home with all five of them."

Before the mobile pantry, families would get pre-packaged boxes with somewhat limited options. The new truck has refrigerated spaces, a wider variety of produce and gives the added option to shop for what suits each client's best needs.

"It seems a little less intrusive into your family if you are the one who gets to pick what you're getting," Rueckheim said.

That choice can mean a lot more than just personal tastes.

"My family, we actually have food allergies," said Smith. "So [with the pre-packaged boxes] there was a lot of stuff that we couldn't have and I ended up donating it back."

Rueckheim said what once needed twice as many volunteer hours over the course of a day now only takes the span of a morning with the mobile pantry.

"They're amazing people," Smith said. "They make sure that we get our food, they make sure that we are covered and taken care of."

The mobile pantry's first stop was in Rockland and the fire department at 10:00am. Following that, it headed into Bangor to Dutch Creek Manor.

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