Family Meal: We Help Parents Who Struggle to Feed Their Kids

Ingredients for Pizza Mac and Cheese, a meal kit that Hope Center Pantry provides once a month
The Hope Center Pantry provides meal kits and recipes to families once a month, like this Pizza Mac and Cheese meal kit.

With such an abundance of food in the U.S. today, no child should go hungry. Yet 34 million people in the U.S. are food insecure, including 9 million children, according the Feeing America. Hope Center Pantry is doing something about these troubling statistics by preparing family meal kits.

Social Benefits of a Family Meal

Today’s families are busy, no doubt! Preparing and eating family meals together takes time and effort. But the benefits of regularly gathering around the table for a family meal are worth the effort. 7 Science-Based Benefits of Eating Together as a Family. Families who prepare and eat a meal together benefit from the social interaction of a shared meal. Research shows that having the family involved in meal preparation increases fruit and vegetable intake. In addition, family meals provide a sense of togetherness and security that helps nurture children into well-rounded, healthy adults. Family dinners have a positive impact on children’s personal identity, self-esteem, values, and motivation.

Meal Kits for Green Bay Families

Hope Center Pantry is a Christian-based nonprofit ministry that strongly encourages family time and family meals. The pantry partners with Annie Jackson Elementary in Green Bay to provide the ingredients for a full, nutritious meal families in need. Starting in September 2021, and throughout the 2022-23 school year, the pantry created “meal kits” for a family of four. These meal kits are orchestrated through their school counselor who has a team of 50 students that help pack and distribute the meals once a month. Additionally, the school has a mini pantry available called Hunger Heroes.

Food & Recipes for Hungry Kids

The families pre-register for the meal, and they receive meal recipes in both English and Spanish. The pantry includes an English/Spanish flyer with each meal kit, so families know about the pantry’s location and services. One month, the pantry provided 33 meals – enough food to feed 132 parents and children at a family meal. Pizza Mac and Cheese is one example of a meal kit, with all ingredients provided.

Collaborating with Green Bay School Counselors

To spread the word Hope Center Pantry, we contacted school counselors in the Green Bay School District, sharing information about our pantry and other food pantries in Brown County. We encouraged the counselors to send information home with students whose families have a need for our services.
One of the school counselors from Eisenhower Elementary in Green Bay stops by Hope Center Pantry periodically to pick up food to give families with children in the school. The children’s parents don’t have cars to travel to the pantry, so the counselor cheerfully delivers their food right to their door!

Panty Serves Families with Children

Together, we are serving families and children in need in the Green Bay community. Children who have enough to eat perform better at school and have a better chance of growing into healthy teens and adults. We’re grateful to everyone who volunteers, donates, and advocates for Hope Center Pantry, to feed kids and families who are hungry. Contact us to learn more about the ways you can contribute to our mission.

Sister Helen Plum: Called to Translate God’s Infinite Love as Pantry Volunteer

Hope Center Pantry volunteers make a lasting impact by feeding the hungry in Brown County, Wisconsin. The pantry offers many different ways to volunteer. Here’s the story of volunteering at the food pantry by Sister Helen Plum, SSND (School Sister of Notre Dame).

By Sister Helen Plum, SSND, Hope Center Pantry volunteer
Our constitution (rule of life as sisters) is called “You Are Sent.” As School Sisters of Notre Dame, we are called and sent to make Christ visible by our very being, by sharing our love, faith, and hope by striving to foster unity wherever we are. I was conscious of this as I was sent to teach in various schools for my first 17 years in various cities in Wisconsin.

From Teacher to Translator

Then I was called to another, very different ministry – becoming a German – English translator. Born and living in Milwaukee, I had been raised bilingually by my immigrant parents and had studied German formally. The call to this ministry was a transforming experience. I met so many of our sisters living in other cultures and countries. No matter where we met, we experienced the bond of our SSND community. As we worked, and especially, prayed together, it was a profoundly humbling awareness that I was God’s instrument through which our sisters shared their thoughts and prayers with one another.

Working Among the Poor of our World

Our SSND charism of internationality continues to challenge me to witness to unity, to discover unsuspected ways of sharing the gifts God has given me with those who are among the poor of our world, and to find new channels of service in the universal church.

Church Work in Green Bay, Walsh, Peshtigo

I spent 32 years in various pastoral work at Resurrection Catholic Parish in Green Bay, at Ss. Joseph & Edward Catholic Parish, Walsh, and St. Mary Catholic Parish, Peshtigo.

International Ministry in Austria

Then, I was once again called to international ministry in Eggenburg, Austria, in 2016. My teaching, translating, and pastoral ministry experiences came together as I taught English and German to teenage boys, refugees from Afghanistan, and also presided at liturgical celebrations at the local parish when the pastor was unavailable.

Volunteering at Hope Center Pantry in Green Bay

Once again, back in the USA, I moved to Green Bay and came to volunteer at the food pantry in 2019. I enjoy working with our volunteers and meeting our clients. All these experiences confirm a basic belief for me – we are all called to be translators of God’s infinite love and joy, no matter what we do and where we are sent to be.

Become a Food Pantry Volunteer Today

Volunteers provide an essential community service by feeding the hungry in the Green Bay area of Northeast Wisconsin. Thank you, Sister Helen, and all of the volunteers at Hope Center Pantry. Contact us about volunteer opportunities or to schedule a visit to the pantry to experience volunteerism first-hand. The pantry is open 1-3pm Monday through Thursday at 505 Clinton St. Green Bay. Read the How You Can Help information to learn more.