Security Health Plan donates $1,000 to Community Pantry in Chippewa Falls

“It was embarrassing, even as a kid,” remembered Marshfield Clinic Senior Pharmacy Technician Jillian Medina-Fenner of her childhood family trips to the local food pantry. “My mom was embarrassed, too. She felt like, ‘I shouldn’t have to do this. I should be able to put food on the table without this.’”

 

Medina-Fenner said that’s how you knew the people there needed it. And many still do. Now, she’s spending her free Saturday mornings at Chippewa Falls’ Community Pantry helping guests shop for their needed food items using the pantry’s “guest choice” model.

 

And thanks to her nomination, the Community Pantry will receive $1,000 from Security Health Plan’s Monthly Employee-Driven Corporate Giving campaign, funding dedicated to organizations that make a healthy difference in their communities.

 

Community Pantry has opened its doors to those in need since 2009, offering fresh and canned produce, frozen meats, bread, cereal, and other groceries to choose from every Saturday morning. The pantry also offers its guests essential hygiene items once a month.

 

Community Pantry clients face challenges like limited access to food and transportation; insufficient funds and/or food stamps to cover their needs; and, Medina-Fenner intuited, medical costs.

 

“I see the same faces at the pharmacy. A lot of the people shopping here are our patients, and access to good nutrition is key to their health,” said Medina-Fenner. When she’s serving at the Community Pantry, Medina-Fenner knows she’s a face of Marshfield Clinic to many client-patients.

 

“They recognize you, and they associate you with the Clinic,” Medina-Fenner said. “And we should be here. This is our community. This is just another way we can help our patients, whom we may have known for years without being aware of their struggle.”

 

And the help is definitely needed. Medina-Fenner says there’s always a line out the door before the pantry opens at 9 a.m. “I’ve seen well over 100 people come through on a given Saturday,” she said. Clients are generally below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

 

“Even in winter, people will wait on sidewalks and in cars outside the food pantry for up to two hours before the doors open,” she said. “They need the food. While Community Pantry always has enough staples for every client, fresh produce goes first and once it’s gone, it’s gone for the week.”

 

Once they’ve shopped, clients’ carts are weighed and recorded so Community Pantry can order enough food in bulk from the Feed My People Food Bank for the next week. The all-volunteer organization makes its purchases using donated funds.

 

Volunteers gather and stock food, help with food drives and fundraisers, and help guests with their shopping. “My daughter and I volunteer together. She likes it. It’s fun working with the other volunteers, who are loyal regulars, and good to help our community,” Medina-Fenner said.

 

Learn how you can volunteer or donate.

 

Every month Security Health Plan donates $1,000 as part of its Employee-Driven Corporate Giving campaign. Marshfield Clinic Health System employees are encouraged to nominate an organization that is making a positive difference in the community.