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Muskego food pantry opens today

Auto dealership provides space

April 7, 2009

Muskego's local food pantry has a home - at Salentine Buick & Pontiac.

The pantry will be open for the first time from 1 to 6 p.m. today, April 9.

Julie Frahmann, a member of Bethel Lutheran Church, proposed the pantry and enlisted the support of nearly all the churches in Muskego. She was prepared to open the pantry in February but needed to find a location.

Salentine answered Frahmann's cry for help and has provided space in its employee lunchroom.

"It's scary," Frahmann said last week as she stocked the shelves with food in preparation for the opening. "I've never done this before. I don't know whether to expect 10 families or 60. Hopefully, we'll be able to outfit whoever comes in."

Curves fills shelves

Gail Levin, owner of Curves of Muskego, was a big help in getting the pantry ready. During the 11th annual food drive at Curves last month, Levin and her customers collected 3,252 pounds of food for Muskego's fledgling pantry. The donations in previous years went to other pantries in the area.

On April 1, Frahmann, Levin and a couple of other volunteers moved the food from Curves to the new pantry and stocked the shelves.

Frahmann said those coming in for food today will simply fill out a form. There would be no criteria to qualify, no proof of income.

"I have to assume if they're coming, they need it," she said.

Frahmann was happy with the space Salentine has offered. It is heated and meets the 15- by 15-foot requirements she said the pantry needed. The room is even a bit larger.

The pantry will have to share the space with the employees during their breaks, but that means the pantry gets the use of a Salentine refrigerator already in the room. It also will have room for a freezer, promised to the pantry by a donor. Shelving was donated by Sentinel Fluid Controls of Muskego.

Getting here from there

She got the idea for the pantry after listening to a sermon by the interim pastor at Bethel, the Rev. Cheri Johnson, who mentioned in her sermon a story about a teenage girl who started a food pantry. Frahmann decided if a teen could start a pantry, she could, too.

She got some advice in organizing the pantry from Karen Tredwell of the Waukesha Food Pantry. Both the Waukesha pantry and the New Berlin Food Pantry each serve about 60 Muskego residents.

It was not easy getting the space, she said. After putting out the word the pantry needed a home, she did get another offer from a business in the industrial park, but those plans fell through.

"Salentine is the one that stepped up," she said.

John Schultz can be reached at (262) 446-6611.

At a Glance

WHAT: Muskego Food Pantry opens

WHERE: Salentine Buick & Pontiac, W14444 Janesville Road

HOURS TO PICK UP FOOD: 1 to 6 p.m. Thursdays; 9 a.m. to noon first and third Saturdays

HOURS TO DROP OFF FOOD: 9 a.m. to noon Thursdays

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