Jake’s and Kingdom Come continue their effort to reach Northeastern WI residents in need in Oconto County, serving at least 150 households each month.
They know the weight of hardship, yet it hasn’t stopped them in their tracks.
Many who visit Kingdom Come arrive with a smile despite the change to wait in their cars during the pandemic, and miss out on that extra bit of socializing while getting basic needs items they rely on from the food pantry of Oconto County, said Belinda Chou of the pantry.
“These older folks have worked hard through their lives,” she said. “Many have not had the best breaks in life, but they are still putting one foot in front of the other and living. They are trying to make the best of what they have living as good as they can make it. They are grateful all the time. They say thank you, even when they are struggling. They have optimism and hope that things will get better. They are resilient.”
October marked Kingdom Come’s 17th month in partnership with Jake’s. The pantry generally serves between 150-175 households each month, with products estimated at $4000 to $5000 retail, and approximately 75% of the products come from Jake’s, Belinda said. The rest are purchased by Kingdom Come or donated.
The pantry receives many hygiene products because of our partnership, including diapers, period products and adult care essentials (A.C.E. incontinence products). During its October “Diaper Day,” it served 82 clients aged 60 and over, from 59 households, in need of essential support from our A.C.E. program.
“The older Kingdom Come Food Pantry clients are on fixed income, some on the bottom of the Social Security scale,” she said. “Some are veterans. They struggle to make ends meet every month. They rely on the generosity of their community members to support them at the pantry with food. They find a way to deal with adversities as they always have – stretching the dollar, penny-pinching, dealing with the here and now. Health issues get in their way. Finding money for self-care items like Poise or adult briefs is a struggle.”
Kingdom Come is the only weekly pantry operating in Oconto County. Through COVID-19, they have focused their efforts on source CARES Act food to support the local need, and have served up to 650 households per week. The pantry is 100% volunteer and grateful for the success it has had meeting community needs.