City one step closer to adding mobile food pantry

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- A local city is one step closer to getting a food pantry for families in need.

The city of Altoona seems to have it all, a school, plenty of parks and a growing population. One thing missing in the bustling city though is a food pantry.

“Our closest food pantry right now is Trinity Lutheran Church on Clairemont Ave. in Eau Claire and they estimate 80 to 100 of the families that use their pantry come from Altoona. So we know there is a need,” Pastor Dan Kohn said.

Pastor Kohn with Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Altoona says the city has never had a pantry to call its own. Now a group of community leaders called the Altoona Compassion Coalition is coming together to fill that need.

“We started talking about this idea of bringing a mobile food pantry or maybe a permanent food pantry to the community,” City Administrator Mike Golat explained.

Golat says under a current plan, the Compassion Coalition would receive a monthly supply of food from the Feed My People Food Bank. That food would be distributed from a site somewhere in the city.

On Thursday night the Altoona City Council will decide whether it will allow the mobile pantry to use space in one of two city owned buildings.

“We may use the public safety building or public works building as a distribution point,” Golat explained.

Golat says the monthly supply of food would end up costing $250, which would be paid for by donations received from the community and funds raised at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

“We should have a good solid funding base to get it off the ground,” Pastor Kohn said.

Pastor Kohn says despite the lack of a permanent location for the pantry, he's excited to see the community banding together to provide food for families that need it for years to come.

“There are people out there a month from now that will have a need met and we will have a small part in making that possible,” he added.

The Compassion Coalition says it hopes to open the mobile pantry up by September 25th.

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