Portage Food Pantry
St John's Episcopal Church
211 W. Pleasant St.
Portage, WI 53901
The Portage Food Pantry is a community pantry that has been in operation since 1981. The Episcopal Church has generously housed the pantry since its start. The pantry is a non-profit organization with 501c-3 status and is overseen by a board of directors. Over 50 caring volunteers bring in the food, stock shelves and serve the recipients. Food and money are received from local churches, schools, businesses and many individuals. The pantry is the distribution site for USDA Commodities for the Portage School District. We provide information about local resources and work cooperatively with other agencies to assist transients and homeless.
We serve about 150 households per month. A three-day supply of food is given once a month based on family size. More is given if there is a greater need and when pantry supplies are abundant.
In 2004 the Pantry served 1,758 households or a total of 4,156 individuals. About 40% of these were children. About 77,400 pounds of food was received. That is about 39 tons of food. Included in that was over 2000 pounds of venison that was donated through the Wisconsin Deer Donation Program. Also 600 pounds of elk was received from an individual. We have one refrigerator and four freezers to store the food. The most unusual items donated in 2004 were powdered octopus and chocolate pasta.
Over 75 packets of school supplies were given to recipients’ children. Turkeys and fixings for Thanksgiving were given to 140 families. We also put together 140 Christmas boxes with the Elks Club.
There has been an increase in demand over the years. We consider ourselves fortunate to be part of a community that responds to that need. We are very thankful for the generous donations of food, money and time. As we look ahead, we are committed to providing good service and good food to help those in need.