Family Sharing does its share during pandemic emergency

Grafton-based agency welcomes surge in donations as virus concerns impact area

FAMILY SHARING of Ozaukee County staff member Mike Gostomski stocked shelves in the food pantry of the Grafton-based agency, which serves more than 600 area residents. Executive Director Julie Hoover said the agency is seeking more volunteers and donations because of an increase in demand since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ozaukee Press Staff

As people rush to grocery stores to stock their refrigerators and pantries during the coronavirus outbreak, Family Sharing of Ozaukee County in Grafton is seeking supplies and volunteers to continue its mission of alleviating hunger for more than 600 area families. 

“The community has been amazing. The number of calls we’ve received for donations and people asking if they can come in and help is incredible to see,” said Family Sharing Executive Director Julie Hoover.

“As this goes on and the economic impact of this pandemic hits, we’re going to be a lifeline for a lot of people in our community. We’re seeing a lot of people who have been laid off.”  

Hoover said the majority of the agency’s volunteers are 60 and older and are no longer able to help because they are at a higher risk of becoming infected with Covid-19. She said high school teachers and some volunteers’ family members who are out of work are helping out in the pantry.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Hoover said, noting she’s heard interest from college students who are back home but are under voluntary quarantine if they attend school out of state. 

Because the virus can be spread on surfaces, Hoover said, the center’s resale store closed Tuesday, March 17.

“The store is vital for helping people in need of clothes and furniture, so we’re hoping to open that back up as soon as possible,” she said.

With social distancing in effect, volunteers are bagging groceries and delivering goods to people’s vehicles instead of clients coming in to pick out food items. The number of volunteers needed at a given time has been reduced to less than 10.

Hoover said the pantry’s shelves are stocked with supplies, but she recognizes there will be a need for more food in the coming weeks. 

“We know it’s coming, and we’re preparing,” she said.

“We see the quantity of food grocery stores are going through, and we think this is going to be a long road for a lot more people who are going to need us.”

Nonperishable food items the agency is seeking include macaroni and cheese, spaghetti sauce, rice, boxed or powdered potatoes, jelly and canned goods such as soup, fruit, vegetables, beans, tuna, as well as toilet paper. 

“We are also asking people to give us financial donations as well because we can purchase groceries at cost so we can stretch that dollar further,” Hoover said, noting the resale store provided money to supply the pantry.

“If you want to help and make the biggest impact, the financial donation goes a long way.” 



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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