Menomonie real estate service has new idea to support food security

Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 4:53 AM CDT
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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -One Menomonie real estate service has come up with a way to help decrease food insecurity in their community.

Since taking over American Edge Real Estate Services in Menomonie at the beginning of May President, Tim Nelson, and Property Manager, Mike Sullivan, had been busy.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been fun,” Nelson said. “We’ve been very, very busy and I’m excited that I took it on.”

While checking on properties during move-out time Sullivan was struck with an idea.

“The very first house that I walked into on our check-outs at the end of May I just saw a bunch of food sitting in the cupboards,” Sullivan said.

Seeing the food reminded Sullivan of the work he has done with a Menomonie nonprofit, Stepping Stones of Dunn County, and the increase in food insecurity in his community.

“Knowing that a lot of these kids just in their haste threw a lot of the food away…a light bulb went off and hey what a good opportunity to partner with Stepping Stones,” Sullivan said.

So they came up with a plan to encourage tenants that have leftover non-perishable food items at their rentals to leave them behind as they are moving out to be donated. The Assistant Director at Stepping Stones of Dunn County, Dana Neil, was all ears.

“When they told me about it I thought it was a great idea,” Neil said. “I mean even from my experience of moving, that’s kind of the last thing you’re thinking about is what you are going to do with that food, so usually it gets tossed. The fact that they’re putting something together they’ll collect things that any of their rentals leave behind and then bringing it here is a great way to repurpose all that stuff.”

Neil said this idea to help bring more food into the shelter is coming at a time when demand is high.

“Food insecurity has definitely increased, especially after the extra benefits ended at the end of February,” Neil said. “We have seen a huge uptick in our numbers here at the pantry.”

With American Edge Real Estate Services taking the lead Neil encourages other businesses, groups, or individuals to share ideas they have to help keep their community fed.

“Coming into fall it’s starting to get colder,” Neil said. “You know, school’s back in session there’s going to be probably a lot more need for food at those times, so anytime anyone thinks of a great idea for a food drive we are all about it.”

To find out more about resources and volunteer opportunities at Stepping Stones of Dunn County click here.