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Rural communities face food insecurity at new heights

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Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 10:06 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Studies show rural communities are facing food insecurity at new heights because of unique challenges.

It’s become a monthly routine for Tiffany Potter to drive to the Pardeeville mobile pantry to put food on the table.

“Hard times lately. I needed some help,” Potter, Pardeeville resident said.

Potter said the pandemic has only made matters worse.

“My bills. My husband is the only one working right now and he works so hard. I’m not able to help right now so it’s tough,” she said.

She said getting to the food pantry is another form of stress.

“I have the time, but I have to have the gas money,” Potter said.

Officials at Second Harvest Foodbank of southern Wisconsin said in rural areas the lack of public transportation puts a strain on access to resources.

Potter said she goes to a pantry in Portage and Pardeeville once a month because there aren’t many options, compared to places like Dane County where there are nearly 50 pantries to choose from.

Feeding America research shows 87 percent of rural counties in the U.S. have the highest rates of food insecurity.

“There’s a lot of people struggling right now so there’s a good feeling to help in some way,” Shawnee Sterling, food pantry volunteer said.

Volunteers load up cars with meat, produce and a sense of hope.

“I’m so happy that they do have services like these for the people that do need help because if they didn’t, I don’t know where my family would be or how we would eat,” Potter said.

Potter said when she gets back on her feet, her first order of business is to give back.

“As soon as I’m able to give, I will give them tenfold,” she said.

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