GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – For 37-years, Paul’s Pantry has been serving the needs of the Green Bay region with produce and other items. Local 5’s Eric Richards found out, the Pantry’s service goes far beyond food items.
Paul’s Pantry started small in 1984. “Leo Frigo founded the Pantry when he sold his cheese factory and retired as President of the company,” said Craig Robbins, Executive Director. Robbins has been with the Pantry for over 20-years and has seen the needs of the community change through the years. “During the pandemic, we’ve seen the needs grow over the last year. The good news is that we never had to shut down, not once during the pandemic like other locations did,” said Robbins.
Presently, the Pantry is able to supply individual families with about 100lb of groceries each week. “From that small start, we’ve grown into the largest food pantry in the state of Wisconsin,” said Robbins. They never turn anyone away, who needs help. They have come up with s system that works, with a simple application to assess the needs of the individual or family. “We ask everyone to fill out an application, so we can provide the amount of groceries needed weekly,” said Robbins.
The slogan at the Pantry is “Neighbors feeding Neighbors” but the assistance goes beyond food. There is a scholarship program set up for anyone who wants to continue their higher education or finish up. “We have programs where we help people who are interested in going back to school, maybe getting their G.E.D or H.S.E.D. If they want a one or two year degree, we can help with a partnership with NWTC,” said Robbins. For more information on the Leo Frigo Memorial Scholarship at NWTC click here.
The Pantry is completely volunteer-driven. A number of volunteers rotate responsibilities throughout the day. Nancy Voegtline has been volunteering for over 20-years. “I love that I am able to make people smile and treating them with respect,” said Voegtline. There might be families or individuals who are ashamed to asked for help. At the Pantry, there is no shame at all. “There is no shame in asking for help ever! Think of it this way, you can come here and get your food and not have to worry about the bill,” said Voegtline.
The Pantry is closed on Sundays and Thursdays. All other days, they are open from 9 a.m..-1 p.m. For more information on the services, they provide visit the Paul’s Pantry website. No matter the climate, they will continue to provide for the community, just as Leo Frigo wanted many years ago.