There’s no doubt members of the Menomonee Falls High School football team do some heavy lifting in the weight room to prepare for the season, but the past week they’ve been doing some heavy lifting to help their community.
On Saturday the varsity football team provided the muscle to move the Menomonee Falls Food Pantry into its new spacious location along Menomonee River Parkway behind . On Wednesday, the team returned to unload foodstuffs and stock the very shelves they helped move.
The pantry opened its doors to needy residents Tuesday for the first time.
“We are very excited about it. We were open Tuesday and our clients have shared in the excitement as well,” said Kathy Woodushek, executive director of the pantry. “The day went better than we anticipated.”
Food pantry organizers are holding a grand opening event at the new digs from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 24. Guests are encouraged to bring a canned good to the event.
The move into the new facility was a big step indeed for the food pantry, but there’s still a lot of work to be done raising funds to sustain operations. Organizers set a goal to raise $200,000 to cover costs of the new facility as well as utilities costs. Woodushek said they have currently raised about $155,000, and will continue to fundraise to cover operational costs.
The food pantry is selling raffle tickets to generate some of these funds. Tickets cost $1 apiece, or 6 for $5. Raffle tickets will be sold at every home football game, at the farmers market and the Optimist Club popcorn wagon.
Several merchants are also selling raffle tickets including:
Construction of the 2,400-square-foot distribution center at the pantry's new location, N85W15382 Menomonee River Pkwy, started earlier this summer. The Village donated a former Water Department building that is attached to the new distribution center.
In 2002, the food pantry served about 95 households in the Menomonee Falls area. In 2010 that total skyrocketed to 495 households, or about 1,400 people. Annually, the food pantry spends $68,000 on food to maintain stock for residents.
The food pantry is open from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information about the food pantry, or to inquire about donating of volunteering, call (262) 251-6848.