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.
MADISON - Wisconsin officials are working to determine how to improve the statewide emergency communications network and who will pay for it.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports the Wisconsin Interoperable System for Communications allows public safety agencies to communicate with one another across the state, and sometimes coverage can be spotty. The state hired a consultant last year to examine networks in surrounding states and provide recommendations for maintaining Wisconsin's system.
MINOQUA - Students often create projects for class, but it isn't every day that students create projects for regional competitions. Many Northwoods students gathered in Minocqua to compete in a history day competition.
"This year's theme is called taking a stand in history," said Lakeland Union High School's Department Chair of Social Studies Mike Mestelle.
ST. GERMAIN - A school bus doesn't feature a lot of amenities. Seats, windows, and that's about it. But a company out of St. Germain thinks buses, and other big vehicles, make the perfect kitchens.
Caged Crow Fabrication is owned by Josh Romaker. HeĀ moved to the Northwoods about three years ago. Around the same time a woman in Madison approached him to help refurbish an old camper. He decided to make it into a food truck instead.
"We took on the challenge and that first build was featured on US Today and some magazines and our phone just started ringing. We've got them in Denver, Salt Lake City, New Jersey," said Romaker.
That was just the beginning for Romaker's company, Caged Crow Fabrication in St. Germain. They now specialize in food trucks of all kinds.
"If a customer wants a food truck that looks like a barn or a steam train or a school bus conversion, we really stick to the unique food truck builds," said Romaker.
The 1982 bus that Caged Crow Fabrication is working on now will be complete in a little over a month. The team made up of just a few workers has one rule- they never build the same thing twice. And they take their time.
"We have a sign on the wall here that says 'quality over quantity'. I think our reputation right now is really based on the attention to detail and I think we want to keep that up," said Romaker.
If you're interested in checking out more work from Caged Crow Fabrication, follow the link below.
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