Posted by Mary Jones on Jan 10, 2018
President John Fuller introduced Terri Green, executive director of the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry (OACP) to present the day's program about the Oshkosh food pantry.
 
A native of the Fox Valley, Terri came to the OACP from U.S. Venture where she served as the Director of Community Engagement, which included managing the largest golf outing in the state of Wisconsin--the U.S. Venture Open. She also served as an advisor to the Basic Needs Fund at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and served as executive director of the U.S. Venture/Schmidt Family Foundation.
 
Terri Green
 
Terri noted that this year is the 10th anniversary of the OACP, which was formed when 7 church-based pantries came together to form a non-denominational pantry.  The Pantry was able to locate in the St. Vincent de Paul store and have access to 10,000 square feet of refrigerator and freezer space in the former Copp's Food Store. The pantry pays rent of $1/month to St. Vincent de Paul.
 
She noted that the pantry served more than 2,000 households in 2017, including 4,500 to 5,000 people, 60% of whom were children.  Last year OACP distributed 1.3 million pounds of food.  The pantry is open four days per week and is located on the bus line, which Terri noted as being very important to clients.
 
The three pillars of the OACP's mission are to provide food, nutrition information, and help create independence for its clients so they can move beyond needing OACP's help.
 
The OACP works with the Backpack for Kids program, which provide school children identified as at risk with a back pack of food for the weekend.  Through that program, it's hoped the students' parents/guardians will be introduced to the food pantry and make use of that opportunity.  
 
Through OACP's Support Schools program, youth from kindergarten through college are eligible to receive food assistance.  
 
OACP has also started a home delivery program to provide food to those confined to their homes.
 
48% of the food OACP distributes is donated and 52% is purchased.  Most of that food is purchased through the Feeding America program and OACP pays 19 cents a pound for food purchased.  Much of that food comes from Wal-Mart and Target stores that donate to Feeding America.  In fact, here in Oshkosh OACP now gets food directly from Wal-Mart and Target, eliminating what had been a 3-4 day delay in the food getting to the Pantry. That has been especially for fruit and vegetable products.  This year, OACP hopes to work closely with local farmers/growers to obtain 
 
The OACP also provides cooking classes to help clients learn about nutrition and how to use various foods, fruits, and vegetables. 
 
Terri noted that OACP manages the symptom of poverty and strives to do more than provide food by fostering independence in its clients.  She said that 70% of its clients are participants in the Food Share program, which indicates their need.
 
She thanked the Rotary Clubs of Oshkosh for their assistance in helping with the Shared Harvest program, which gathers fruits and vegetables at the end of each week's Farmer's Market. That food is then delivered to the OACP where it is distributed to clients.
 
She noted that the OACP will celebrate its 10th anniversary on March 23 with an open house at the facility.  There will also be a Kids Run for Hunger on April 28th.
 
She said the OACP is in need of board members and invited anyone interested to contact her for more information. She can be reached at 920-651-9960 or via e-mail at terri@oacptoday.org.