The partnership between Cashton Cupboard and Closet (CCC) and Community Hunger Solutions has been several years in the making. Before the covid-19 pandemic altered the way we make connections, Cashton Cupboard and Closet would regularly attend community meetings intended to help people share information pertaining to community resources. It was there that an attendee mentioned Community Hunger Solutions as a possible partner.
Now, CHS delivers around 15,000 lbs of local produce and dairy to CCC yearly!
This relationship has given CCC a reputation of being a resource where clients can always have access to fresh produce.
Cashton Cupboard Beginnings
When community members began to see a need for a food pantry in Cashton, they started organizing to create this resource. In 2009, the first pantry opened in an empty room of a local Catholic school. As they began to serve more and more clients, it became evident that they needed a newer, larger space. As word spread about the need, more people wanted to support the relocation. CCC even received a donation of land for the building of the new pantry. After extensive community fundraising, they were able to build a new pantry in 2015.
Cashton Cupboard Today
Cashton Cupboard and Closet is unique in that they offer their clients more than just food. Because they also operate a second-hand store, funds generated from the store are utilized to purchase additional personal care products for families in need - items such as laundry detergent and deodorant. They also have cat and dog food available for any one who needs it.
CCC used to be a free choice pantry, meaning that people could enter into the building and choose whatever foods they would like to take home, much like a grocery store. After covid hit, they began
following the recommendation of public health health officials. Currently, the food distribution model allows clients to visit the pantry and a volunteer will ask how many people are in their family. From there they will gather foods donated from a variety of sources, and give them to patrons.
In addition to the local foods provided from Community Hunger Solutions, CCC also sources foods from Second Harvest, Hunger Task Force, TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program), and they have volunteers that drive out to QuikTrip to gather food for donation.
Cashton Cupboard and Closet’s reach would not be possible without ample volunteer support. Out
of their fifty volunteers, about half of them keep the food pantry up and running. Volunteer jobs include driving out to various locations to pick up donations, bagging up dog and cat food for clients, shoveling snow, cleaning, communication, stocking shelves, and taking extra clothes to Children's Visions, an organization that ships used clothes to Africa and South America.
Cashton Cupboard and Closet works to support the Hispanic population through incorporating bilingual signage in the pantry. Sometimes clients will utilize their cell phones to translate messages, and sometimes a representative from Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers will come along to assist with communication. Scenic Bluffs has been a great asset to the food pantry because they will educate their patients about what CCC has to offer and direct them there for resources. CCC accommodates their Hispanic clients by distributing certain culturally appropriate foods, such as hot peppers and tomatillos, as well as having rice on hand and certain canned foods.
Looking Towards The Future
Like many hunger relief organizations, Cashton Cupboard and Closet is working towards getting back to some type of normalcy.
Covid-19 required a lot of rapid changes for food pantries, and theirs was no exception. With an aging population as the primary volunteer base, they also hope to bring in more volunteers in the coming years. If you are interested or want to learn more, please reach out at 608-654-5770.
We would like to thank Cashton Cupboard and Closet for the their partnership, and the work they do getting food out to the people of Southwest Wisconsin. We look forward to many more years of working together!