Town Builds Food Pantry to Meet Needs of Community

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In the small town of Wilcox, people know that where there's a need, there's a community effort.

"I find it a very loving community, a very close community, but also a very caring community. If people have needs, it's not uncommon for the community to put on an event, a supper of some kind or something like that, and for almost the entire community to turn out," said Pastor Mel Mertens of the St. John's Lutheran Church in Wilcox.

And right now, that need is a food pantry.

"The pastors in town here, probably a little over a year ago, first kind of thought, maybe there was a need to have something like this. But nothing came of it then," Mertens said.

That is, until Wilcox native Amber Springer stepped in.

"My passion is working with non-profits and different people. Just working with kids at the school and the church, we just really saw a need," Springer said.

Springer and the three pastors in town formed a committee and began looking for a space.

"It just so happened that they were moving the library, and talked to the city council and they were all on-board because the space was going to be empty, so it just was perfect timing," explained Springer.

The new organization held its first fundraiser on Saturday. The 5K run generated more than 200 pounds of food, along with cash and other donations.

"Everybody was just real respondent in getting the word out," said Springer.

And even though they're just getting started, they're not afraid to dream big.

"My envision is around the holidays we'll do gift baskets. And there's potential to do coat drives and back-to-school stuff, just to help those times when money is going out of the household and people can't afford it," Springer said.

The organizers said they hope to open the doors to the new food pantry in the next month or two.