HungerPlus-Marathon County Initiative

On January 4th, 2021, Patrick Bradley and Ben Lee from United Way of Marathon County speak to us about the money we raised to help 150 families in our area have a decent Holiday meal with their family:

Please consider being an Angel this Christmas.

Too many people in our community are not so fortunate to have a job, to work from home, or to afford a Holiday meal.

By Dec. 16, 2020 we need to raise $3,000 to buy $20 grocery vouchers for 150 of the neediest families in our community.

Along with our Club’s longstanding $1,000 match, an anonymous donor is also providing a $300 match.

How were the 150 families identified?

Our HungerPlus Committee collaborated with United Way Hunger Coalition to determine how we could make the biggest impact this Holiday season. The Coalition shared that the rural Marathon County schools suggested to the Coalition to utilize their resources elsewhere. Wausau West has an “angel investor” underwriting their cost to provide food to needy families and the DC Everest School District felt they were fine for now. So, the Coalition reached out to the Wausau School District Social Workers who identified 150 of the neediest families from Grant & Lincoln Elementary & Horace Mann Middle Schools.

What grocery stores will be utilized?

The Hunger Coalition has a great working relationship with all local grocery stores and will utilize those stores located within those school’s boundaries. Most likely Lamb’s, Pick ‘n Save and maybe Trigs.

What may the voucher be used for?

Groceries only. Stores have tried to limit vouchers in the past to include only turkeys, or meat and produce, but it is too taxing on the cashiers to police this. So, they are willing to limit the purchase of groceries only.

The History of HungerPlus-Marathon County Initiative

HungerPlus-Marathon County started in December 2011 by the Rotary Club of Wausau. This initiative’s sole purpose is to support United Way of Marathon County’s Hunger Coalition, whose mission is to increase awareness, eliminate hunger and promote programs of self-sufficiency in Marathon County.

Our club typically holds quarterly "HungerPlus Events" to raise money from our members, with a club match of up to $500 per quarter. Sometimes we double up the quarterly events with a mission to raise at least $1,000 from our members to capture the $1,000 club match. Sometimes an anonymous donor will add an incentive match to boot. Each HungerPlus Event also has a theme, to target funds raised to support, for example, Holiday cooking classes, rural pantries, high school and middle school pantries, senior center food pantries, gluten free and other food sensitivities.

It may come as no surprise that our club consistently rises to the occasion…we have captured every matching incentive and have donated over $51,000 to the United Way Hunger Coalition to date. We were also responsible for securing 8,400 5 lb. bags of #2 potatoes (that’s 21 tons!) and 1,800 dozen eggs (that’s 21,600 eggs) that were distributed to every food pantry in Marathon County!

The Hunger Coalition has also leveraged our donations by partnering with UW-Extension’s FoodWIse Program to provide cooking classes for those less fortunate in our community. Past classes have included: Holiday dinner, Cook Once-Eat Twice, Cooking with Crockpots and Hot-Plates (our donations as well), Cooking For Single Seniors, Kid’s Recipes during breaks/summer, to name a few. The FoodWIse Program also provides instruction for budgeting, meal planning, how to use food pantries and stretching your food dollar.

The Hunger Coalition has presented our club with their "Community Champion of Hunger" award in 2014 and 2015.

If you would like additional information or have any questions about this initiative, please contact Patrick Bradley, 715-212-4531, [email protected].


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