Cars line up for Green Bay meal distribution as organizers say need is increasing as funding cuts loom

Feeding American says it’s helping about 600,000 Eastern Wisconsin families.
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 5:05 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - West High School and Edison Middle School were the site of long lines Wednesday morning as families took advantage of free meals.

But, there’s concern from local pantries and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin on how they’ll keep up with the need for food assistance as federal and state funds dry up at the end of the year.

“We’re not really desperate but I know it is super helpful for us especially during this holiday. I just feel like it’s a good thing for us,” Linda DeGroot, who was in line at West High, said.

More than 12,000 meals and 4,000 snacks were handed to needy families at West High in a joint effort between Green Bay Public Schools and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

The distributions will take place on Wednesdays throughout the month of December at the parking lots for both schools.

This Wednesday, organizers began an hour earlier than the scheduled 10 a.m. start time because of all the cars.

Feeding America prepared about five hundred boxes for families that included household food items such as a galloon of milk, yet it wasn’t enough.

According to Green Bay Public Schools, 62 percent of its students are on reduced or free lunches.

Still, some families who showed up Wednesday were from out of town.

“We are also getting people from Neenah. We’re getting people from Bonduel, Oconto, Shawno, so there’s a huge need out there,” Lynette Kienau, director of food service programs at Green Bay Public Schools, said.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin President and Chief Executive Officer Patti Habeck said the winter time is the hardest for cash-strapped families as expenses go up with heating.

Mix in the pandemic, where some families have lost jobs or reduced hours, and it’s a dire situation.

“We do not know what kind of support we’re going to be getting from the sources that have been supporting us throughout the pandemic, so our concern is that the need is going to stay high,” Habeck said.

Feeding America is currently assisting about 600,000 families living in Eastern Wisconsin, according to Habeck.

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