St. Vincent de Paul expands Neenah food pantry

Fox Valley food pantry expansion
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 5:47 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 5:46 PM CST
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - Many families struggle to buy food ahead of the holidays. A pantry in our area is expanding to help.

St. Vincent de Paul workers gave Action 2 News a first look at the upgrades to Vinnie’s Pantry at 1425 S. Commercial St. in Neenah including a new, 40-foot walk-in freezer and cooler.

“We can accept everything and anything that people bring to us,” Director of Operations Jeremy Pingel said. “Before we had to be a little more careful because we did not have storage. We had an upright home refrigerator and we had a chest freezer for frozen items. Now that’s completely changed.”

The nearly 30 thousand square foot expanded pantry also has rows and rows of shelves for dry goods and non-perishables.

“The need is spectacular. It’s overwhelming at times to see the need come through the door... It is heartbreaking when we don’t have enough to feed everybody that comes in and that’s not going to be a problem.”

Pingel explained 75 to 90 new families register to use the pantry each month. Two years ago, 52 families relied on the pantry. Now, that number has grown to just less than two thousand.

The old pantry could only fit five people at a time and would run out of certain foods sometimes. Now, the bigger space is helping each patron put a meal on the table.

“People that are dealing with food insecurity, whether it’s a temporary issue, they’re in a transition phase, or it’s a long-term senior that’s on a fixed income, we have what they need when they come here,” Pingel said.

The grand opening is Thursday, Nov. 16, one week before Thanksgiving with a ribbon cutting and guided tours.

As we move closer to the holiday season, you can help struggling families. St. Vincent de Paul accepts donations all the time.

Proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits and hygiene products are always in high demand.