Numbers Tell the story
Approximately 1 million pounds of food were distributed in 2020. The average number of monthly visits was 1,634, with 3,356 people served by the food pantry each month. During 2020, Dunn County saw a 66% increase in food insecurity, with childhood food insecurity increasing by 68%. More than 10,000 Project SAM (Share A Meal) bags were delivered to Dunn County youth through 10 local schools — ensuring that they have food on the weekend when school meals are not available. Approximately 1,000 Senior Commodity and Senior SAM allotments were distributed through the year. Pop-up pantry distributions were held twice each month in Colfax, Downsville, Ridgeland and Sand Creek, averaging more than 200 household visits per month.
Stepping Stones Shelter
In 2020 , 239 people received shelter either at the Stepping Stones shelters, or at a local motel when the shelters were full. A total of 6,287 nights of shelter were provided (# of people x # of nights). Additionally, 45 families received assistance with their first month’s rent or a security deposit when they were able to move into permanent housing. Another 747 people received assistance with other housing-related needs, such as locating affordable housing, completing applications and writing appeals, obtaining necessary documentation for housing, and referrals for other services.
Community Connections Program
Due to COVID-19, volunteering and community service dropped dramatically in 2020. While working to make sure that our volunteers and community members stayed safe, there were 126 people assisted by volunteers with supportive services, including food deliveries, small home repairs, and yard work. Additionally, $3,085 of direct assistance was provided to help with expenses such as rent, heat, electric bills, fuel, and clothing. 300 people were referred to other programs and community services for things like Energy Assistance, Food Share, the Free Clinic, and medical appointment mileage reimbursement. A total of 7,257 volunteer hours were contributed by community members to help make all of Stepping Stones’ programs and services possible.
Stepping Stones offers a ‘hand up’ not a ‘hand out.’