After helping to secure $4.3 million in federal funding for the construction of a new food bank facility in Western Wisconsin, Senator Tammy Baldwin made a trip to Hudson to see where those dollars will be put to work.
The St. Croix Valley Food Bank hosted the senator on Friday, Feb. 17, in thanks for her generous advocacy as well as to provide her an opportunity to see first hand the services the organization provides in St. Croix, Pierce, Polk and Burnett counties.
“They’re doing God’s work here,” Baldwin told the Star-Observer. “It is so inspiring to see people who dedicate themselves to helping respond to a challenge like hunger and food insecurity in the community – several communities when you look at the reach of this organization.”
The funding comes from the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which in total, includes more than $255.7 million in congressionally directed spending for Wisconsin projects.
Baldwin has spent the last year working to solidify this assistance of public and nonprofit entities across Wisconsin.
Prior to 2022, there was no Wisconsin-based food bank in the St. Croix Valley. Now, the St. Croix Valley Food Bank serves food pantries, food shelves, backpack programs and other hunger relief programs in the area. Since then, the growth has been extraordinary, distributing 4.2 million pounds of food.
“The challenge is this region demands 6-7 million pounds of food to truly meet the need and unfortunately we’re falling short,” Executive Director of the St. Croix Valley Food Bank Ann Searles said. “Last week, we had to turn away donated milk. We already had a full cooler of food. We simply did not have the space to store the product safely.”
The permanent food bank facility will create a more efficient space to serve the high poverty, diverse and rural populations in the region.
In its first fiscal year, the food bank leased a warehouse on Industrial Street in Hudson. With its dedicated staff, volunteers and donors, it served more than 212,000 people and increased the number of hunger relief partner sites and programs from 14 to 55.
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