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Mosinee group's food giveaways successful


UNDATED (WSAU) -- Two local food giveaways helped hundreds of central Wisconsin families this summer. Chad Lawson is a volunteer with Leader Central, which is a Mosinee based non-profit charity and service group.

Lawson says they did their first food giveaway June 20th when they received a grant for the food from Feeding America Mobile Pantry.  “We received the grant, we got the volunteers together, we got the space, and then we advertised it and got the word out in Mosinee. That went really well. We gave out about 99% of the 10,000 pounds of food.”

The Mosinee event went so well, Leader Central contacted Feeding America to do an even bigger giveaway for people in the Edgar, Stratford, Marathon, and Athens.  “They graciously raised the amount of food from 10,000 to 18,000 (pounds), and that event was held on August 8th at Oak Street Park in Edgar, and we did have a lot of volunteers, we had a lot of community support, a lot of people helping get the word out, and we wound up serving three times as many people.”

They had a long line two hours before they started giving the food away in Edgar.

Lawson says you would recognize nearly every product as something you’ve probably purchased before. The meats they receive are then frozen to preserve them longer.  “It’s name brand stuff. Anything from bread to pies to breakfast food. We had potatoes there, we had yogurt, we had meat, at the Mosinee one we had chicken and pork, and I think this time we also had chicken and pork. so it’s all name brand high quality food.”

Lawson says many leading grocery and convenience stores donate to Feeding America Mobile Pantry.  “It’s kind of a food depot where they get a lot of food that is about to to expire. They get it in and then they give it out to places like our program.”

They make it eligible for anyone in the community.  When they do the food giveaways, they get statistics about the number of people in a household and unique addresses, but it’s for everyone in the communities so they don’t use income guidelines or other qualifiers. In the Mosinee giveaway, they helped about 80 unique addresses with around 400 people. The Edgar giveaway was 277 unique addresses feeding nearly 1,100 people.

If someone or a group wanted to sponsor another one, it costs about 1,000 to 1,500 to put each food giveaway together, depending on how much food is given away. It takes around three to four weeks to put each giveaway together.

Lawson says these events would not be possible without the volunteers, as they get the word out in each community and help with the on-site food distribution.

More information about Leader Central is available at their website, www.leadercentral.org. or by calling Director Kristina Mauk at 715-352-0798.