EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
The shelves still have space on them at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry at Resurrection Parish in Menominee. Local Scout troops will be partnering with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to run a food drive Saturday at Jack’s Fresh Market locations to get these shelves filled up.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

The shelves still have space on them at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry at Resurrection Parish in Menominee. Local Scout troops will be partnering with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to run a food drive Saturday at Jack’s Fresh Market locations to get these shelves filled up.

On Saturday, a one-day food drive will take place at all Jack’s Fresh Market locations in the Marinette and Menominee area between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. This food drive is a unique partnership between area Scouts, Jack’s Fresh Market, and the St. Vincent de Paul food pantries in Marinette and Menominee.

In the past, the Scouting for Food drive was held each fall using the traditional “bags-on-doorknobs” format. The Scouts would leave bags at people’s homes for them to fill with food, and they would return on the day of the drive to pick them up. According to Jack Nicholas, a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Resurrection Conference in Menominee, the Boy Scouts of America decided not to have a food drive this fall, possibly transitioning to a drive in the spring. He said this leaves local food pantries without a key source of food to support families through the Thanksgiving to Christmas season.

As a result, he said local troops are teaming up with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in both Marinette and Menominee to keep food on the shelves through the colder months. Local Scout Troops 1017 and 6017, Venture Troop 9079 and Cub Scout packs 4168 and 4071 stepped forward and agreed to help with the food drive at the Jack’s Fresh Market stores to replace the door-to-door drive.

Nicholas said shoppers at Jack’s Fresh Market on Saturday will receive a short list of items most needed at the food pantries, such as peanut butter, soups, and cereal. They will be given “Scouting for Food” bags and asked to shop for some of these food items. After checking out, the “Scouting for Food” bags can be placed in waiting carts. Volunteers will then transport the bags to the local food pantries.

Nicholas said the approach to food drives locally has been the “bags-on-doorknobs” approach, however he said a drive like this was tried by Scouts in the Milwaukee area, and they discovered that they were able to collect more food than they had previously. Even though the Milwaukee area is a very different place from Marinette and Menominee, Nicholas said that it worked for them, so it could very easily work here despite the differences.

According to a 2018 United Way Wisconsin report, almost 50% of area residents make less than the basic cost of living. In the last year, Nicholas said the Menominee pantry has seen a 15% increase in visits and use of the pantry, and Marinette’s has seen a similar increase. According to St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director Kalyani Grasso, in the past year the food pantries in Marinette and Menominee have met the needs of more than 10,400 food pantry visits.

“The need is real,” said Kathleen Ziminski of Jack’s Fresh Market, “Your donations will make sure two of the largest area food pantries have fully stocked shelves through the winter months.”