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


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 ĹI'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: 05/02/2016

- Last month, voters in the Unified School District of Antigo rejected a referendum that would have consolidated the district's seven elementary schools. Now the district has to figure out what to do with the teachers, staff and students of one school that will close in June.

- Plus, until now Price County has never had any type of public transportation.  Park Falls hasn't even had a taxi service in years.  That all changed in April with a new bus.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MATTOON - Last month, voters in the Unified School District of Antigo rejected a referendum that would have consolidated the district's seven elementary schools. The referendum would have kept two rural schools´┐Ż"Mattoon and Crestwood´┐Ż"open.

But now, Mattoon Elementary School will close in June. The school board voted 5-4 to close the school at the end of this school year.

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PARK FALLS - Park Falls's Bob Kranig hadn't been to the grocery store in three years, by his estimation.

"I've got to rely on other people," he said.

Getting to the store himself was simply too tough. Kranig doesn't walk or drive. He mostly stays in his motorized wheelchair, which he calls his scooter.

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WAUSAU - The mayor of Wausau blames "a violent world," in part, for this weekend's officer-involved shooting.

A Wausau police officer shot and killed a man allegedly armed with a knife late Saturday night.

Mayor Robert Mielke said that he believes the shooting was justified and the entire police force has his full support.

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RHINELANDER - The Oneida County Humane Society hopes expanding its current facility will help the animals and the public.

OCHS announced plans to expand and improve the animal shelter at its annual Furball fundraiser.

It will use a $100,000 grant the shelter received from PETCO last year to help cover some of those costs. But OCHS will also need to raise more money to cover all the planned improvements.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office warns people to clean up their campsites before they leave or face fines. That warning comes after this past weekend, when people left a messy site at the Underdown camping area in Gleason.

The Forestry Department saw people left litter, including a mattress, at the site. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says it has a zero-tolerance policy for littering.

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RHINELANDER -

Northwoods timber harvesters can now use a new business tool. 


StumpGeek software allows loggers to track things like their finances, timber, and cash flow.


The goal of the program is to offer an easy-to-use application.


Designers believe the software is tailored to the needs of Northwoods loggers.  


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