KESHENA, Wis. (WFRV) – The St. Michael Church Food Pantry started handing out free “Badger Boxes” Tuesday to Menominee County and Reservation residents.

All the food inside was made, grown, or harvested in Wisconsin.

Pantry coordinator Pat Gwidt was beaming as she looked over all the fresh produce, dairy, and even yogurt-covered cherries.

“Look at this,” Gwidt said as Local 5 News cameras rolled. “Fresh salad greens. They’re organic. A pound of butter. A pound of Nueski’s bacon!”

There were also a variety of cheese and some wild grain rice, and milk.

The boxes are paid for through a $15 million grant from the American Rescue Plan Act through the Wisconsin Department of Trade, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection.

Hunger Task Force food bank is distributing 16,000 boxes monthly across the state.

St. Michael’s Pantry helps about 60 families each month.

Volunteers said they felt good about a program that involves and supports every segment of the community, including families and seniors who are struggling to get all their bills paid and food on the table.

“It’s supporting the state economy,” Gwidt said. “It’s supporting local farmers and supporting local produce growers. And I’m very happy to see this kind of a product to put out there for them.”

Volunteers say the quality of the food lifted the spirits of those who parked their cars in a line for curbside pick up. Not to mention how it will improve their health.

“We need to improve our nutrition. We need to improve what we eat daily. To help us stay healthy. And I classify this Badger Box as excellent food.”

The pantry continues to follow covid-19 protocols and mandates masks indoors.