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Hunger in the Northwoods: Who is Using Food Pantries? Submitted: 02/18/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

Hunger in the Northwoods: Who is Using Food Pantries?
ANTIGO - This month we're looking at hunger in the Northwoods. We've brought you the stories of dedicated volunteers and programs that bring thousands of pounds of food to families in need. This week we're focusing on WHO benefits from hunger relief in the Northwoods.

It's not easy to find someone willing to talk about their struggle with hunger. Thankfully Helen Adair of Antigo shares her time helping the food pantry, and she was willing share her story as well.

Helen knows too well what it's like to go hungry. As a child in Scotland during the Second World War rations were slim and hunger was inescapable.

"You get knots in your stomach," Helen said, "And my mother used to say, 'Drink some water. Drink some water' so there was something in our stomachs."

In 2013, in the United States, we don't live in war-time. Still, hunger is here too.

"It shouldn't be. This is America. Everyone should have plenty to eat," says Helen, "You know? It shouldn't be- but it's here."

Today Helen's need for food is much less severe. Even so, for her and many families in the Northwoods, a limited income forces tough choices.

"The money is gone and you need products. You need toilet paper, laundry soap..."

As Helen puts is, 'We all need to eat', and everything else has to wait. Hygiene and medication fall to the side, but a food pantry puts those back on the shelf. It gives families a little breathing room. Donna Rus knows just how much that means.

"They will give us a hug, 'thank you so much, oh my child will really like this... We haven't had oranges or apples for a really long time'," said Donna, the President of the Steering Committee that runs the Antigo Area Food pantry, quoting some of their patrons. "Some of the small children will take an apple, and before we can even wash it, they'll bite into it. So they are delighted."

How in the world do people struggle for food in the wealthiest nation in the world? Divorce, lay-offs, hours being cut, elderly grandparents caring for children- these are the realities that Donna see bringing people in to their food pantry- Things that could happen to anyone.

"Just last week we had a member of a family register with us and said I'm so embarrassed, I never thought it would come to this'."

For that family and nearly 400 more, the Antigo Area Food Pantry is there to take some of the bite out of hunger.

The Antigo Area food pantry has only been open since May. They formed when local church food pantries combined to better serve the community.

They never turn anyone away.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on what appears to have been a suicide of a Lac du Flambeau woman whose body was found in a Crandon home following a report of a gunshot early Wednesday morning and leaving three people in jail.

At the close of the high school sports season, Lakeland Union High School had the most successful season of all the schools in the Northwoods. We'll review their season and talk with the Athletics Director and two student athletes about the school's success.

And in spite of all the recent rain, a Tomahawk area family is very excited about today's opening of their strawberry farm. We talk to them about the first day and about how the recent rain may affect the berry growth.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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CRANDON - Update 10:55 a.m. Friday

The death of a woman in Crandon earlier this week appears to have been a suicide.

25 year old Savanna Larson of Lac du Flambeau died early Wednesday.

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RHINELANDER - All the spring rain this year makes it difficult for people to keep up with their lawns. It is especially hard on those who make their living off lawn care. 
 
Steinmetz Landscape Design has been in business for 35 years. Owner and founder Alan Steinmetz says the amount of rain this season isn't something he's ever seen. 

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TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk Berry Farm opened its gates Friday for the first time this summer.

The morning was what Tom Behling calls the perfect strawberry picking weather.

Behling has owned the Tomahawk Berry Farm for more than 30 years.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker is hitting the road to promote cheese.

Walker announced Friday that economic development officials, members of his cabinet, lawmakers and University of Wisconsin officials will be spreading out across the state to celebrate growing cheese companies.

Walker is kicking off "Wisconsin Cheese Day" on Monday with a stop at Klondike Cheese in Monroe.

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MADISON - A federal judge says Wisconsin's use of solitary confinement in its juvenile prisons poses "acute, immediate and enduring" harm to young inmates and is ordering that it be dramatically scaled back.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Friday also ordered that shackling juvenile inmates and the use of pepper spray be used much more sparingly than now.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Prosecutors think an Oneida County Sheriff's deputy used her job to steal cash, but she could get those charges dropped if she completes a diversion agreement with the court.

Sarah Gardner, 41, also known as Sarah Welcenbach, faces two felony misconduct charges in Oneida County.

According to the criminal complaint, prosecutors believe she paid herself about $1200 from a cash box her office used for drug investigations.

The diversion agreement says Gardner must pay the money back to the Sheriff's Office and complete a six-week accounting course at Nicolet College.

If she does those things, the state can ask to dismiss the case.

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