Dane County approves $2 million in emergency grants for local food pantries

MADISON, Wis. — Food pantries in Dane County are getting some help keeping their shelves stocked after the County Board approved a $2 million grant program Thursday night.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi praised the move, which comes as many families are struggling with rising costs at grocery stores.

“Many Dane County households are facing economic stress from rising prices. Our local food pantries are working around the clock to provide residents affordable, nutritious food, but they need more support,” Parisi said in a statement released Friday morning. “Through this program, we hope to keep the shelves of food pantries well stocked and provide our local food pantries with the financial boost they need to serve our community during this difficult time.”

Food pantries are seeing higher levels of demand right now, and with the grant program approved, Parisi’s office says the county’s Department of Human Services will contact local pantries with more information on how they can apply.

In order to be eligible for the grants, the food pantry must be a charitable, tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization focused on addressing food insecurity, Parisi’s office said.

A second part of the program will help the Badger Prairie Needs Network buy a truck to transport surplus food from locations across the county, including the Epic campus and the new Costco store in Verona.

The grants are being funded with a portion of Dane County’s allocated funds from the American Rescue Plan.