When did the Pantry start? How often can people come to How do I sign up to volunteer?
The Pantry began from a discussion group the Pantry? The best thing to do is to talk with
at a Sunday morning learning session in People can come as often as they need to, Christine Thompson, the Pantry
May 2006. On Sunday, the idea was as many times as they need to. We Coordinator. You can call her at 608-
proposed; by Thursday, the shelves were maintain control of the inventory with a 772-346 or 608-628-3189, send an e-mail
up; the next Thursday, the Pantry computer program that knows how often a to her at Coordiantor@pepartnership.net,
accepted its first two households. household can have what, based on the or stop by most weekdays between 8:00
household make-up (adult men, adult and 4:00.
Why does the Pantry exist? women, children, children 3 or under) and
We believe in the promise of God’s size, and that household’s shopping When and where can we drop
kingdom as a reality for today, and that in history. off donations?
God’s kingdom there is enough for Donations can generally be dropped off
everyone to live a full and abundant life. Is there a “typical” household? Monday through Friday, 8:00-4:00. We
As people who have been blessed by God, No – we have everything from single suggest that you avoid Thursdays between
we in turn seek to bless others. individuals to households of 13; single- 11:00 and 3:00 (that’s our busiest time),
parent families to families with both and that you call first to be sure that
How many households does the parents, and aunts and uncles and someone will be available.
Pantry serve? grandparents. The only thing typical
The number is constantly growing; as of about the families we serve is that they Are donations tax-deductible?
January 2011, we’re serving almost 3,000 need us. Yes – the Personal Essentials Pantry is a
households, and increasing by 10-25 not-for-profit entity under the rules of the
households each week. Where does the Pantry IRS. All donations are tax deductible.
get its supplies?
How many households does the We get a lot – about a third – of our How much of my donation goes
Pantry see every week? products from in-kind donations. We get to stock?
We see between 80 and 120 households some – about 5-10% – from area Almost all of it. We do have some
every week – usually 20-30 households foodbanks such as Second Harvest and overhead costs – we use a lot of paper in
on Sunday, and 60-85 households on Community Action Coalition, which printing the guest shopping list, and there
Thursday. We receive 10-25 new funnel contributions from companies and are other general running expenses and
households each week. individuals for distribution through the Coordinator’s salary – but 80-90% of
individual pantries such as ours. Some – the monies we receive goes to buying
Who can come to the Pantry? about 60% – we buy directly. We try to products for distribution.
Anyone in need in the greater Madison balance cost, environmental
area, extending to all of Dane County and responsibility, and fiscal responsibility Who supports the Pantry –
beyond. We don’t restrict service based (while we don’t want to spend more than where does the funding come
on geographic region or ZIP code. (Note: necessary, we don’t want to support from?
There are now other agencies in the suppliers who do not pay a living wage). Much of the support comes from the
PEPartnership; some of the partnership members of the Zion congregation and the
agencies may restrict on the basis of ZIP community at large. In addition, we seek
code.) funding from variety of foundations.
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans was a pay attention to try to ensure that our
major donor in 2007, and we had a grant procedures and paperwork can be used by
from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in other agencies. Our inventory control Personal
America (ELCA) in 2009 and 2010. We software, for example, is written in public
also received a grant from the Madison domain, open source software, so we can Essentials
Community Foundation in 2010 to
establish the PEPartnership. Without the
give it away to anyone who wants it.
help of the general community, however, Do you make provision for
we could not do what we do. people who don’t speak English?
We can print shopping lists for our guests
Are there other pantries doing in Spanish, Hmong, and French for guests
this type of thing? who have those languages as their
As of January 2011, we know of two primary language (with English sub-titles
other pantries in northern Wisconsin, two for the sake of our staff members who
in Maine, one in Indiana, one in Quincy, don’t read those languages.)
MA, and we believe one in Ohio. We are Many of our other materials are
working with others around the country already available in Spanish, and we hope
who are thinking of doing similar work. to be able to add Hmong soon. As we
have groups using other languages, we
Why the focus on personal and invite them work with us to make our
household hygiene essentials? materials available in their language, too.
These are products that people need, but
that aren’t covered by food stamps. Most
people think of food stamps as covering
“groceries” – but the way the rules are
For more information contact
Christine Thompson, Coordinator Frequently
Personal Essentials Pantry
written, they only cover food – no Coordinator@pepartnership.net
alcohol, no tobacco, no medicines, no 608-772-3146 or 608-628-3189
non-food products of any sort.
What other agencies does the Questions
Pantry work with?
We are a member of the Dane County
Food Pantry Network, so we work
cooperatively with all the food pantries in
Dane County. Because we help with
personal and household essentials, they
can concentrate on providing food. It’s a
We also know that we’re in the role of
a model or demonstration agency, so we