Addressing food insecurity in the community


Advance-Titan — The Oshkosh Area Community Food Pantry is one of several pantries in Winnebago County helping to fight food insecurity.

Chloe Strand, Guest Writer

Food insecurity is a major issue impacting our nation and community today with about 10% of households experiencing food insecurity throughout the nation in 2021. Food pantries are a great resource for individuals struggling to find nutritious food, yet there are recurring themes and issues seen in these organizations. Some common issues are the growing need for accessible food, negative stigma surrounding food pantries and a lack of resources to use the food.

The Oshkosh Area Community Pantry, the Oshkosh Salvation Army, Father Carr’s Our Daily Bread or Drive-Thru Food Pantry and the Lutheran Food Pantry are great pantries in Winnebago County helping to solve food insecurity in the community. To learn more or become a volunteer with one of these agencies, attend the open house at 5 p.m. on Nov. 17 at Father Carr’s Place 2B at 1062 N. Koeller St., Oshkosh.

One of the largest issues happening related to food insecurity is that need and demand is growing due to inflation. While need is going up, donations are going down. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were donating a lot of food. But now donations are starting to decline.

Another issue pantries face is reaching the population of people who need help but are not coming in to receive service. Staff at the pantries have talked about the negative stigma people face when coming to a food pantry. They want the public to know there are many reasons why people need their service. Oftentimes, guests only need the pantry one or two times a year to get through a difficult time. Supporting the public through difficult times is exactly what the pantries are there for. They hope more people in need reach out and use the services.

Additionally, many individuals coming to food pantries may not have the resources to obtain certain items. It is one thing to come in and get accessible nutritious food; however, it’s another to bring it home. Many items in a food pantry need to be put into a refrigerator or freezer. Also, many cans are given out at food pantries, which means a can opener is needed. Unfortunately, many community members do not have these specific resources.

Raising awareness regarding the issue of food insecurity is the first step to help resolve the issue. Through community involvement and more community members volunteering for this cause, we can get closer to alleviating the food insecurity crisis.

Editor’s Note: The Center for Civic and Community Engagement (CCCE) at UW Oshkosh is working with local nonprofits to raise awareness about critical issues our community faces and the groups working to make a positive impact. Through this monthly series, people will learn about the challenges and ways they can help.

Chloe Strand is an intern for the UWO CCCE.