MARINETTE — NEWCAP’s food bank in Marinette is still going strong despite an increasing demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the food bank has faced some hardships and shortages due to COVID-19, the staff believe that they are needed now more than ever. “I think that we are handling the situation very well,” said Deb Barlament, the executive vice president of operations for NEWCAP.
The increase in need and customers has been stretching the food bank more than ever. “We’ve seen an increase in new people and an increase in people coming in. Usually people would only come in once a month, but now we are seeing people needing to come in two or three times a month,” Barlament said.
Thankfully, the center is receiving some extra help from local schools. “Due to schools being closed because of COVID they have been kind enough to donate some of the perishable food that would usually go to the kids have been donated to us,” Barlament said.
The food bank has also undergone several changes to help combat and prevent the spread of COVID. Since early March, when COVID first became a concern, both masks and temperature readings are required to enter the building. And instead of letting people walk through the food bank, the staff are now putting together pre-made food boxes to help reduce human contact.
If community members wish to help the food bank, Barlament said that their most needed item right now is gift cards to local grocery stores. By donating gift cards the food bank has the ability to buy whatever food they need at the time. Barlament also mentioned that fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and dairy products.
And it’s not only NEWCAP’s food bank that’s seen a rise in use by the community, all of NEWCAP’s programs, of which there are over 60, have seen an explosion in new members since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The goal of these programs, which help with housing, rent and public health, is to lift community’s out of poverty and improve people’s quality of life.
“If people are unsure whether they are eligible for our programs, call us and ask. We will do whatever we can do to help,” Barlament said. To contact NEWCAP and request assistance, people can call 928-834-4621