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Hunger in the Northwoods: Where Does the Food Come From?Submitted: 02/18/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

RHINELANDER - Every Monday in February Newswatch 12 is taking a deeper look at hunger in the Northwoods.

Last week we brought you the story of a volunteer who's dedicated more than a decade to feeding the hungry- This week, we're looking at where all the food comes from.

450 families rely on the Rhinelander food pantry every month. Each of them leaves with about 60 pounds of food. That wouldn't happen without the thousands of pounds they get through Feeding America.

"185,000 pounds, from the Feeding America program at Walmart," said Jane Motowski, the Food Manager at the Rhinelander Food Pantry, "That's a lot of food... So we've been able to give more!"

The Rhinelander food pantry is lucky. They can offer a lot of something many food pantries can't offer at all, fresh produce.

"Of all the pantries we probably have the most," said Motowski, "But we may also be the only one that's doing the Feeding America pick-up."

Feeding America provides dry and shelf-stable foods to hundreds of pantries across this state. Those are quality calories, but fresh produce is another story. Just about the only way to get that, is to pick it up yourself.

Thanks to a special agreement with Walmart through Feeding America, and a team of volunteers, the Rhinelander food pantry gets just about everything that Walmart would have thrown away.


"We are so close to the Super Walmart that we can pick it up by pick-up truck and get it here…They don't want it on the shelf, but it's still edible and it's usable and they give it to us so we try to move it as fast as we can," said Motowski.

With low-cost food purchased through Feeding America, and her own shopping with the community's donations, Motowski is able to keep their basement, two freezers and a walk-in cooler mostly stocked.

They also get some help from local stores. Golden Harvest donates their unsold baked goods, and the Friendship House Family restaurant gives soup by the bucket.

"We never know what we're going to get," says Motowski with a smile, "It's kind of like Christmas every day!"

Entirely through the generosity of others, families in need in Oneida county keep food on their shelves. That's something Motowski doesn't take for granted.

"Without volunteers we would not be here... I have to say, volunteering is probably one of the most rewarding jobs you could do, makes you feel good, and makes the people feel good."

In Oneida county, it helps them stay full too.

If you're ever holding an event, and have left-over supplies or food, the Rhinelander Food Pantry would greatfully take that, and any help too.

Another source of fresh produce for the Rhinelander Food Pantry is the Community Garden. The master gardeners are always looking for help to keep the garden growing. Contact the Rhinelander Food Pantry at 715-369-7237 to help out.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

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NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.

They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


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ADAMS COUNTY - Two men died in a car crash near the Wisconsin Dells Saturday afternoon according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Police got a call around 2 p.m. about a two-car crash on County Road B north of State Highway 23 in Adams County.

A 65-year-old was driving and a 72-year-old was in the front passenger seat. Both those men died at the scene. They were both from Oxford, Wisconsin.

Driving the other car was a 24-year-old man from the Wisconsin Dells. He was taken to a hospital but is expected to survive.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating. The names will not be released until the families are notified. 

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MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/29/2016

- Local schools have stepped up to show their support for the Antigo community after last weekend's prom shooting. We'll show you what that effort looks like at Lakeland.

- Plus, a local greenhouse that was destroyed by a tornado in 2011 and was rebuilt is celebrating it's20th anniversary. We'll take you to the celebration.

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

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - We now know who were the three people killed during Wednesday's double-murder suicide in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department says  36-year-old Justin Bohn of Wisconsin Rapids shot and killed his 5-year-old daughter, Paige, and his 3-year-old son, Devon.



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RHINELANDER - Making sure nearly 400 families get enough to eat each month takes a lot of resources.

That's why the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry hopes a new spring fundraiser will help.

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VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County will need to fill a vacancy soon at the district attorney's office.

The current DA, Al Moustakis, has filed paperwork showing that he won't run for re-election.

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