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Community to shine at Saturday pop-up pantry

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Volunteers work to assemble grocery boxes during a pop-up food pantry event held in Kaukauna in November.

The weather may be getting colder, but the goodwill of our community is as warm as it’s ever been. 

“The generosity that has come forward since the start of covid has been amazing,” said Julie Wilke, volunteer lead for the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry.

We take care of one another here in the Fox Valley — and another opportunity is on its way for those who could use a hand amid the holiday season.

Drop in for Kaukauna’s Electric City Pizza Jam.

The drive-through, pop-up food pantry event will take place outside of the Kaukauna Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 12. Volunteers will take orders and pack boxes in a safety minded manner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those who stop by will remain in their cars as the goods are gathered. Organizers will be able to help with the grocery needs of 125 families. 

It’s a tough time for many as covid-19 remains a risk to our health and a burden on our economy. 

But the virus hasn’t been able to stop neighbors from being neighborly.

A generous donation from Bernatello’s Foods will add some fun and flavor and serve as the main feature of the event. Big and cheesy Lotzza Motzza Brew Pub pizzas will be included as part of the grocery boxes. 

“We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting event,” said Matt Selvig, advertising and promotions manager for Bernatello’s. “For us, we not only want to provide high quality pizzas to our customers, but be active in the communities we serve.”

The Fox Valley has always risen to the challenge when difficulties strike.

It’s been a full community effort.

Jake’s Diapers will contribute to the event and ensure that young ones are clean and comfortable. Diapers in a variety of sizes will be available.

The Electric City Experience is playing a role in Saturday’s pop-up from the position it knows best: organizing and pulling off a smooth, enjoyable event. 

And one couldn’t stop a music festival from adding a soundtrack to the festivities. With mild temperatures expected, those waiting on their orders to be filled can enjoy live music from the comfort of their vehicles.

The idea of community stretches beyond any municipal borders.

The Oshkosh Area Food Pantry is contributing to their neighbors to the north with non-perishable food items as well as frozen chicken and pork. Those dropping by the Pizza Jam can anticipate some variety and the ability to fill in some of those staple items. 

“We’ve had the additional food, so we’re happy to help,” Wilke said.

The Kaukauna Public Library has taken on a unique role for an institution of its type — they’ve been nourishing bodies as well as minds. 

It’s played a role in keeping the community fed through their Little Free Pantry. Patrons can take food items as needed. It’s stocked through donations from community members in the positions to pay it forward.

Electric City Experience, while known for its big spring weekend, has a crucial second component. The event has served as a fundraiser for Kaukauna organizations. 

Though the virus prevented the festival’s 2020 return, organizers still hope to fulfill their community role and will begin fundraising in hopes of expanding the capabilities of the Little Free Pantry.

As needs persist, we can be assured that helping hands will remain outstretched.

Communities are only as strong as their safety nets. And our organizations, individuals and businesses have been active to ensure no one is slipping through.

For Bernatello’s, it only feels right to support a community that’s supported them.

“We feel that it’s important to give back and help those in need, especially during these unprecedented times,” Selvig said.

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