Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Looks Back on Successful Year
Story By Melissa Constanzer
RHINELANDER - Feeding the family on a budget gets harder and harder each year. Now imagine feeding a community for a low price. One local Food Pantry looks back on a successful year that met this challenge.
The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry served more pounds of food per household than last year. Their total this year was over five-hundred fifty-four-thousand pounds of food. This total was up from last year despite rising food prices and operation expenses.
"The goal for next year or for this year actually for the food pantry of course is to continue to provide food for the hungry people in the Rhinelander Area," says Guy Hansen, Food Pantry Executive Director.
The Food Pantry expects to run into new challenges in 2013. Food prices continue to rise and storing so much food is difficult.
"We do have some space issues here. We're plenty crowded. We're looking into some possibilities for how we might improve that for next year," says Guy Hansen
The Pantry also appreciates all the volunteers that keep the shelves well stocked.
FLORENCE - People in some areas of Wisconsin may take easy access to groceries for granted. People in Florence don't.
Last year, the USDA considered the Florence area a "food desert". There was no grocery store in all of Florence County, and it had been that way for seven years.
That's all changed. Pat's Foods has now been open for a year in town.
A vacant space in Florence looked like a slab of concrete with a roof a year ago. Now, Pat's Foods stays busy every day at the location. The full service grocery store supplies food and fresh produce, meats, and dairy. That convenience means people are shopping steadily at Pat's, and business is good.
LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find 25 dollars in cash to get out of jail.
28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.
FLORENCE - The Florence County Library looks much more appealing nowadays. That's thanks to thousands of dollars worth of hand-me-downs from southeastern Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee suburb of Cedarburg wanted brand new furniture and shelves for its new state-of-the-art library. Florence was pleased to take Cedarburg's unwanted shelving - and Florence got it for free.
"They provided basically all of the shelving that you see in our library for anything that's stacks, which is where the books are, on both sides of the library, along with the oak desks that you'll see in the back of the library," said Florence County Library Director Stephanie Weber.
EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults.
"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."
Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.
"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."
The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes. "You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel.
"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.
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