A new name to go along with pantry’s new home

Saukville Community Food Pantry announces it is now Ozaukee Food Alliance at first gala fundraiser

A RENDERING shows what the new home of the Ozaukee Food Alliance will look like when it is renovated this year.
Ozaukee Press staff

The Saukville Food Pantry on Saturday unveiled its new name and logo during the organization’s first gala.

The pantry will now be known as the Ozaukee Food Alliance, a title that more accurately reflects its goal of helping to end hunger in the area, Executive Director Mark Gierach said.

In conjunction with the name change, he said, the organization has adopted a new logo and is in the process of updating its website.

“It’ll take us some time to get it all changed over,” Gierach said.

The name change, Gierach said Monday, is intended to better reflect the pantry’s mission and its partnership with other organizations.

The need for a new name came when students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee conducted a survey, Gierach said.

“One of the things we found was some people felt that under the name Saukville Food Pantry, you had to live in Saukville to use the service,” he said. “We changed it to Ozaukee Food Alliance because we do cover all of Ozaukee County.”

“I think there are people out there who aren’t aware we’re here,” Sara Pashak, president of the pantry’s board of directors, said. “It’s important for the community to know we’re here, but it’s more important for the people in need to know we’re here.

“I think this will help us increase our reach.”

The new name not only reflects the pantry’s reach, it also highlights its goal of helping those in need and the fact that the pantry works with others to meet that goal, Pashak said.

“It’s a nice fit,” she said. “It clearly communicates what we do, highlights our aspirational and historical goal of partnering with the community to make lives better in Ozaukee County, and provides us with room to grow.”

According to the pantry’s year end report, last year it served 490 households with a Saukville zip code, 631 from Port Washington, 273 from Grafton, 177 from Fredonia, 131 from Belgium, 110 from Cedarburg, 60 from Mequon-Thiensville, 33 from West Bend and seven from Newburg. Seventy-five other households did not give their zip codes.

The pantry served an average of 534 households per month last year.

The food pantry collected 221 tons of food last year, sharing 8.8 tons with other agencies.

The pantry’s community meal program served 1,395 meals during 2022, and its back-to-school fair provided school supplies to 326 children.

In addition to food, the pantry also provided health education classes several times during the year, and members of Seek Inc. came to talk to participants who were looking for full or part-time jobs.

That’s especially important as the pantry begins work on its new home in the former Tri-Par headquarters at the corner of South Main Street and Green Bay Avenue.

The building — the first owned by the organization — will allow the pantry to expand its operations now and into the foreseeable future.

The new building has roughly 15,000 square feet, allowing the organization to not only create a large pantry that feels like a grocery store but also a spacious room to host its community dinners and a storage space to support those uses.

The building will be more accessible to clients and volunteers, many of whom are older adults, since it has ground-floor access, she noted, adding that a loading dock will help the pantry receive the food it distributes to clients.

Pantry volunteers are already working on the building, investing sweat equity in renovating the office area by painting, replacing the flooring and other items.

Major renovations are expected to begin in earnest in late spring or early summer and continue through the end of the year.

“Our hopes are to be in the building in January 2024,” Gierach said last month. “It could be sooner, it could be later. It will depend on when we can get a contractor. It will depend on supply chain factors. And part of it will depend on how fast donations come in.”

The pantry’s fundraising goal is $1.25 million to finance the purchase and renovation of the building, Pashak said, and with the estimated $40,000 raised by the gala, the group is a little more than halfway there.

A community fundraising campaign is expected to begin in spring, she added.


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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.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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