|The Antigo Area Community Food Pantry has received over 10,000 pounds of food, plus a check for over $17,000 thanks to the generosity of the community through the Thrivent “Cans” Hunger benefit.|
The community voted on the 15 can sculptures created by businesses and organizations last week, with the awards presentation coming at a picnic Wednesday night at Lake Park.
Members of the Thrivent Mid-Wisconsin Chapter presented food pantry board members and volunteers with a check for $17,500, which will be used to purchase a delivery truck for the food pantry. The dollars represent a match from Thrivent Financial of $5 for every pound of food donated up to 3,500 pounds.
The actual amount raised far exceeded that already-ambitious total, with 10,449 pounds of food collected over a two-week period. That number includes the cans used in the various sculptures plus donations that served as “votes” for the various contestants.
“For our frist year, this was beyond successful,” Jean Greening of the Pinnacle Team of Thrivent Financial said.
Chris Page and Donna Ruf, members of the food pantry board, said the organization deeply appreciated the support.
“We look forward to doing this again next year,” Ruf said.
Page noted that the food is distributed to an average of 470 households per month, of which 32 percent are children. Much is donated by individuals and local businesses including lakeside Market, Antigo Bakery, Copps Food Center Bakery, Walmart, Kwik Trip, Bagels & More, Little Caesar’s, Antigo Community Garden, Antigo Farmers’ Market and the Salvation Army. Other items are purchased through local businesses and the Feeding America program at a discounted rate.
“The pantry is run entirely by volunteers, there is no paid staff,” Page said. “We have a volunteer roster of around 100 people, who put in approximately 750 hours per month running the pantry. We are always looking for volunteers.”
Greening announced the top entries, with the winners receiving clever trophies designed by Mary Herman. The event will be held annually with the trophies traveling to new winners in 2014.
In the most creative division, decided by a panel of three independent judges, first place with 49 out of 54 possible points went to Heinzen Plumbing & Heating, collaborating with Quinlan’s Equipment, Boy Scout Troop 644 and Antigo Farmers’ Market.
Second, with 48 votes was Langlade Hospital and third, Bradley Funeral Home, 47 votes.
In the peoples’ choice category, decided by donations of $1 or one canned good per vote, the winner was Calvary Lutheran Church, with 319 votes.
Second went to Heinzen Plumbing & Heating with 308 votes and third was Langlade Hospital at 275 votes.
The heavyweight award went to the largest sculpture and was won by Langlade Hospital at 1,420 pounds.
Second was Langlade County, collaborating with Lakeside Market and Langlade Springs, at 1,210 pounds and third, Calvary Lutheran Church with a weight of 832 pounds.
Other teams participating included Boys & Girls Club, partnered with the Shoppers Guide; Brettingen, Smits, Novak & Bastle, CPAs; CoVantage Credit Union; Crestwood Elementary School; Drs. Randy and Lisa Krebs at Antigo Complete Dental Center.
Inlanta Mortgage, partnered with the Pinnacle Team of Thrivent, Integrity Realty and Gowey Title; Johnson Electric Coil Co.; Peace Lutheran Church and School; The Blue Awning, partnered with L.A. Arts and Gary Kieper of Thrivent Financial; and Eckerman Tax Services partnered with Schulz Heating and Cooling.
“We’ve already got teams saying they have ideas for next year,” Greening said. “We’ll be back.”
From the left, Mitchel Wagner and Matt Lee of Boy Scout Troop 644 with the "Most Creative'' trophy on behalf of the Scouts, Heinzen Plumbing & Heating, Quinlan's Equipment and Antigo Farmer's Market; Barb McIlquham presents "People's Choice'' honors to Carol Haas of Calvary Lutheran Church; and Sarah Olafson receives the "Heavyweight'' award from McIlquham on behalf of Langlade Hospital.