Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Monday that the county will give an additional $2.6 million to the Second Harvest Food Bank to help residents struggling with the high inflation rates for food prices.

Dane County is working with Second Harvest as part of the county’s “Farm to Foodbank” program, which provides food pantries with food from local farms, according to the Cap Times.

Second Harvest has already received over $26 million from Dane County for providing residents with more than 9 million pounds of food, Director of Marketing and Communications at Second Harvest Food Bank Kristopher Tazelaar said.

“Some of [the local farmers] would not have stayed in business if not for these funds,” Tazelaar said. 

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Second Harvest buys food from local farmers at a reasonable price and then distributes the food to the community, Tazelaar said. This benefits both the farmers and the people receiving the food.

“[There were] people who couldn’t even say thank you because they were tearing up,” Tazelaar said.

Second Harvest values food equity and is making efforts to address it within the community, Tazelaar said. One potential problem with Second Harvest’s work is that it doesn’t limit who is served — meaning that it may not address specific food access gaps in the community. 

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Second Harvest is trying to place more distribution centers in underserved communities, hopefully increasing food equity, Tazelaar said.

College students can also take advantage of Second Harvest, Tazelaar said. Hunger on college campuses is more prevalent than many realize and many students suffering from hunger don’t reach out for help, Tazelaar said.

Students can find the Second Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin website here, where they can make requests for food or donate to help those in need. 

“We exist to end hunger here in Southwest Wisconsin,” Tazelaar said.