Hunger on the Rise: Pantry Serves 2,319 Individuals in May

Janice and Chris Clemens sort donations at Hope Center Pantry
Hope Center Pantry Directors Chris and Janice Clemens
Photo by Timothy Mayer Artworks

Just when we thought our number of clients coming to Hope Center Pantry reached a high, the month of May 2023 really surprised us. We served 593 clients for a total of 2,319 family members! Compare this to our January 2023 outreach to 471 clients and 1,774 family members. Hunger is on the rise in Green Bay, Wisconsin!

Reduction in Food Shares/Food Stamps

Our clients tell us time and time again how much they appreciate the assistance they receive from the Hope Center Pantry. The food donations we provide allow them to feed their family nutritious meals. They are definitely feeling the recent reduction in their Food Shares/Food Stamps monies.

Thanks to Hope Center Pantry Volunteers

We are so grateful to have dedicated volunteers that show up day after day with such eagerness and understanding to give our clients a helping hand. Contact us to donate, volunteer, or request food assistance. Hope Center Pantry is open from 1-3pm Monday through Thursday at 505 Clinton St. Green Bay. Additionally, military veterans and active-duty personnel can pick up free food from 3-5pm on the second and third Tuesdays of the month.

2 Champions of the Poor: Hope Center Pantry & St. Vincent de Paul

A toy garage built from a box that contained food delivered by St. Vincent de Paul volunteer.

Give a boy a box, and his imagination will do the rest! We’d like to share this heartwarming story of two charitable organizations working hand-in-hand to make a difference in the life of a family in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

St. Vincent DePaul Answers the Call

Several volunteers at Hope Center Pantry also volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP), Green Bay, Wisconsin. Recently, a SVDP volunteer took a call from a mother with two children. She was between jobs, her car broke down, she received an eviction notice, and her family was low on food. That’s a lot for anyone to handle.

Free Food from Hope Center Pantry

The St. Vincent de Paul volunteer scheduled to meet with her the following day for a full assessment, but it was obvious that she needed free food, immediately. It was 2:45pm on a Thursday (Hope Center Pantry closes at 3pm), and the SVDP volunteer offered to get her some food from Hope Center Pantry to help the mother and her children through the weekend. Hope Center Pantry volunteers promptly delivered a box of food to the family, and the mother was quietly surprised at the generous amount of food. Her little boy carried the gallon of milk into the apartment and came back to help some more. His eyes lit up when he saw the pizza and juice. The volunteer smiled and said she hoped they would enjoy it. He enthusiastically responded, “I’m going to enjoy ALL of it!”

St. Vincent de Paul In-Home Visit

When the St. Vincent de Paul in-home visit team went to the family’s apartment the next morning, the mother was making omelets with the eggs from the pantry. That was wonderful to see, but that’s not all that made the SVDP team happy. They noticed that the boy made a play garage for his toy cars from the Hope Center Pantry food box. Together, St. Vincent DePaul and Hope Center Pantry gave this mother and her son some much-needed support in a difficult time. What a blessing to spread a little bit of hope by helping others.

Help Others by Volunteering at Hope Center Pantry

Want to make a difference in the community by helping others as a Hope Center Pantry volunteer? 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 We You Help information to learn more. Volunteers provide an essential service to those in need in the Green Bay, Wisconsin, area. Thank you to all of the volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul and Hope Center Pantry.

Hope Center Pantry Opens Late for Veterans & Active Military

man in a military uniform to represent extended food pantry hours for veterans

Starting in May 2023, Hope Center Pantry, Green Bay, Wisconsin, extended its pantry hours to specifically serve military veterans. Military veterans and active-duty personnel can visit Hope Center Pantry to pick up free food from 3-5pm on the second and third Tuesdays of the month. Volunteers, who are veterans also, serve their fellow veterans during these extended food pantry hours. Hope Center Pantry is located at 505 Clinton Street on the West Side of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Hunger Impacts Lives of Military Veterans

Hunger affects many military veterans and their families every day. According to Feeding America, 1 in 9 working-age veterans live in a food insecure household, and 24 percent of active-duty service members were food insecure in 2020. Hope Center Pantry is doing something about it, by extending pantry hours and staffing the pantry with military veterans’ needs in mind.

Extended Pantry Hours to Feed Hungry Veterans

Hope Center Pantry is giving back to veterans and active military members who serve our country now or in the past. The extended food pantry hours for veterans are designed to help military families make ends meet. If you or someone you know is active military or a military veteran in need of food assistance, visit Hope Center Pantry for free food during regular pantry hours or the military-only hours.

Veterans Encouraged to Volunteer at Food Pantry

Additionally, if you’re a military veteran looking to give back to the community and other veterans, consider becoming a food pantry volunteer. 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 Can We Help information to learn more. Volunteers provide an essential service to those in need in Green Bay, Wisconsin, including active military and veterans.

Something to Smile About, Thanks to Brodhagen & Kids Dental Experts

Kids Dental Experts logo

Hope Center Pantry gave Green Bay-area residents something to smile about, thanks two Brown County, Wisconsin, dental offices. When the Hope Center Pantry ran incredibly low on toothbrushes, a pantry volunteer contacted Green Bay dentists. As a result, Brodhagen Dental Care of Ashwaubenon and Kids Dental Experts of Green Bay and De Pere donated toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.

Dental Offices Donate to Pantry

Brodhagen Dental Care logo

Hope Center Pantry is so grateful for these donations of nonfood items from these two local dentists. The Hope Center Pantry clients received these oral hygiene items as bonus items, in addition to the traditional food items they received.

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Dental Floss

Dental hygiene is so important because the health of the teeth and gums impacts an individual’s overall health, medical costs, and quality of life. Proper oral hygiene includes daily brushing and flossing to maintain the health of the teeth and gums. Good oral health enables a person to speak, smile, smell, eat and communicate more easily. Poor oral health can lead to serious consequences. Individuals without access to toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss can experience mouth pain and discomfort. Ultimately, they may end up suffering from costly health conditions.

Thanks, Brodhagen & Kids Dental Experts

Hope Center Pantry loves to see clients smiling! Donations from Brodhagen Dental Care of Ashwaubenon and Kids Dental Experts of Green Bay and De Pere help to make smiles possible.

Donate Food & Non-food Items to Pantry

How can your business or nonprofit organization put smiles on the faces of those in need in Green Bay and Brown County, Wisconsin? The Pantry accepts food and non-food donations alike. Here is a Wish List of Hope Center Pantry’s current needs.

A Bright Idea: Focus on Energy’s LEDs help Pantry Families Save Energy

light bulb box from Focus on Energy donation to Hope Center Pantry

Hope Center Pantry found a bright way to help Green Bay, Wisconsin, families stretch their budgets a little farther. Focus on Energy donated several shipments of 60-watt LED light bulbs to Hope Center Pantry, through a Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distribution. Residential LED light bulbs use approximately 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and last approximately 25% longer. So, think of the money families will save on their electric bills by burning these energy efficient LED bulbs.

A Gift for Tough Economic Times

“We know in these tough economic times it’s important to help our neighbors,” said a Focus on Energy representative. Focus on Energy offers rebates and incentives for energy-saving projects and products. Smart energy decisions, like installing LED light bulbs in homes and businesses in Wisconsin, yield enduring economic benefits.

Pantry Thanks Focus on Energy

Hope Center Pantry, Green Bay, greatly appreciates Focus on Energy’s donation. The pantry’s clients were so grateful to receive the light bulbs. The gift of LED light bulbs helps families stretch their budgets and hopefully, direct the savings to put a meal on the table.

Donate a Food or Non-Food Item Today

How can your business or nonprofit organization shine light on those in need in Green Bay and Brown County, Wisconsin? The Pantry accepts food and non-food donations alike. Here is a Wish List of Hope Center Pantry’s current needs.

Turkey Time: Pantry Donates to 122 Thanksgiving Day Meals

Thanksgiving Day turkeys were given to clients at Hope Center Pantry

What’s a Thanksgiving Day feast in Wisconsin without turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie? Hope Center Pantry, Green Bay, Wisconsin, didn’t want its clients to go without the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal because they lacked financial resources. According to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, the average cost of a Thanksgiving Day meal for 10 people in 2021 was $53.31. Unfortunately, that’s beyond the means of many residents of Brown County, Wisconsin. So, in November of 2021, Hope Center Pantry used monetary donations collected from generous pantry patrons to purchase a variety of turkey options for clients’ Thanksgiving Day meals.

Helping Families Celebrate Thanksgiving Day

Hope Center Pantry purchased frozen whole turkeys (10-16 pounds), 3-pound frozen turkey breasts, and 2-pound turkey hams (similar to a deli meat). Then, Hope Center Pantry distributed the turkeys to clients in November. The pantry’s clients were taken aback by this additional meat item. They were so grateful they could celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal with their families. In total, Hope Center Pantry contributed Thanksgiving Day food for 122 meals.

Giving Away Turkeys & All the Fixings

In addition to turkey, Hope Center Pantry gave clients several other Thanksgiving Day foods which pantry volunteers had collected throughout 2021. Hope Center Pantry clients received turkey, pumpkin, cranberries, evaporated milk, stuffing mix, gravy, and sweet potatoes. Hope Center Pantry’s Thanksgiving Day meal distribution:

  • 67 whole turkeys
  • 28 turkey breasts
  • 27 turkey hams

Accepting Monetary Donations & Nonperishables

Spending time with family and friends around the table remains an important Thanksgiving Day tradition for many Wisconsinites. Hope Center Pantry is pleased to provide food for the feast. To help the pantry fill plates at the next Thanksgiving, please drop off monetary donations and nonperishable food from 1-3pm Monday – Thursday at the pantry, 505 Clinton St., Green Bay.

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.

Paper Products Donation: Could it Be Heaven Sent?

pallet of Paper Products Donation from Bedford Paper

Coincidence or divine intervention? I’ll let you be the judge. In July 2021, Sister Marla Clercx, pastoral leader at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, announced that the Hope Center Pantry needed paper products. Seated in the church that day was an employee of Bedford Paper in De Pere. He knew the company would want to support such a wonderful cause. So, he arranged to have several pallets of paper towels and toilet paper donated to Hope Center Pantry in 2021 and again in 2022.

Bedford Paper Donates Paper Products

The panty appreciates this kind and generous gesture by Bedford Paper. Bedford Paper is a manufacturer of single-use folded towels, roll towels, and bath tissue. With these donations, the pantry has been able to offer paper towels to all clients. Additionally, the pantry includes toilet paper in each box/bag. The clients are especially grateful for these paper products as these items cannot be purchased with their Food Shares/Food Stamps allotted money. Bedford Paper sales and marketing manager said the company is super-excited to hear that Hope Center Pantry clients are getting good use out of these donated paper products.

7 Churches Support Hope Center Pantry

So, is this a coincidence or divine intervention? St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is one of the west-side Green Bay churches that supports the work of Hope Center Pantry. Other churches contributing financial support for the pantry’s day-to-day operations are the Quad Parishes of Annunciation, St. Joseph, St. Jude and St. Patrick, along with Nativity of Our Lord Church and St. Agnes Church. Other churches, organizations, and individuals also support the pantry. They provide monetary and material donations and volunteerism. The pantry is operated solely by volunteers.

Fulfill a Wish on the Pantry’s Wish List

Because the need is so great, Hope Center Pantry is always looking for volunteers, food donations and non-food donations. To view our Wish List and other ways to contribute the panty’s mission, visit the How You Can Help page.