The Oshkosh Area Community Pantry believes that all people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. As a community we have the social responsibility to care for each other by assuring that everyone has the access to resources that help them meet their basic needs. By unifying our efforts, we believe that we can generate more abundant resources and effective services.
The development of a new Oshkosh Area Community Pantry site has been unique in that it has increased accessibility by expanding the hours of operations. It is handicapped accessible for people with disabilities. The pantry allows people to have greater dignity by making it possible for them to shop for the food they receive rather than be handed a bag of groceries. Increased space and refrigeration equipment make it possible for customers to have increased accessibility to fresh produce and meats which are currently lacking in most pantries.
Food nutrition, cooking and food education opportunities are also provided thru the collaborative efforts of UW Extension. Key to our growth has been our ability to expand volunteer opportunities beyond the traditional base of retirees. We have sought to also extend volunteer opportunities to our customers – not as sweat equity – but in an effort to offer them both the dignity of work as well as the pride in ownership of the pantry operation.
Dignity and Respect
The OACP uses and enhances the best practices employed at the former Ecumenical Pantry and from other successful area pantries like Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay and St. Joseph’s in Menasha. The OACP has expanded its area of coverage to include not only Oshkosh but southern Winnebago County including Winneconne, Omro and other surrounding townships. Therefore, the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry, in addition to its primary mission of delivering food to those in need, is also dedicated to providing the community services necessary to combat hunger and the poverty that engenders it.
While the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry collaborates with other pantries to share resources, the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry also has sought memoranda of understanding or covenants with churches, civic organizations and social service organizations.
Our goal is to provide resources, contacts and outreach. To name a few, this includes programs like Food Share, Women, Infant and Children (WlC) program, UW Extension nutrition counseling, food preparation and community gardens, Domestic Violence, Winnebago County Literacy Council, FISC (Financial Information and Services Center) Consumer Counseling, Drug Abuse Correctional Center and new, innovative programs like VITA which is a tax preparation service low income households.