A Special Delivery – Getting food to families in need during COVID-19
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - New numbers from Feeding America predict that the number of food insecure people in southwestern Wisconsin is up 61% since the start of the pandemic. Kris Tazelaar, Director of Marketing & Communications at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, helps to put that into perspective.
“In real numbers it means nearly 64,000 more people (166,000 total) are struggling with hunger sine the pandemic began,” said Tazelaar. “That’s just in the 16 counties we serve.”
Sara Britt and her family are just one of the latest to call on the help of Second Harvest and it’s partner agencies during this pandemic. This mother of two described how her youngest daughter, Kennedy, was born with a hyperinflated lung. The one year old underwent surgery that removed a portion of her lung. Britt said this makes her extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 making the simplest task of just going to the grocery store frightening.
“I wont risk either of their health for just going to Walmart,” said Britt.
Britt reached out for help after her wife lost her job when the hospitality industry shutdown in Wisconsin Dells because of the virus. With a vulnerable daughter and little income coming in she knew she needed to find help.
“It was definitely something I didn’t want to do, but something I had to do,” said Britt. “What parent wouldn’t do anything for their child, right? Happy Kids Network and Second Harvest definitely changed our life for the good.”
Each week they get those daily essentials delivered to their door. Britt said it’s everything from frozen food, fresh fruits, formula, and diapers.
“Just so many helpful essential things so we don’t have to go out as much,” said Britt.
From March 15 to August 1, more than 7.5 million pounds of food have been provided to families in need by Second Harvest. That’s just for the 16 counties Second Harvest serves. It’s a 51% increase from the same period last year.
“I think Sara’s story really hits on just one example of an extreme scenario that everyone in the emergency food system is finding ways to deal with,” said Tazelaar. “It shows the resiliency of the network to find solutions, it also shows – in Mike McKinney’s words – “how much we care.””
While home delivery is something that isn’t standard, Tazelaar said if you are someone in need of a service like this, he suggests reaching out to your nearest pantry coordinator to see if there’s anything the coordinator can do to help “if the situation is bad enough.”
The need for food is a year-round problem, not just something that is needed at the Holidays. Tazelaar wants to remind people there are always ways to help.
NBC15 is proud to partner with Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. To learn more about how Second Harvest is helping the community, click here to read its latest online newsletter.
To learn more about Kennedy and her diagnosis, click here.
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