SWEPS, TNT, and RFB merge to fight food insecurity
For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The South Wood Emerging Pantry Shelf (SWEPS), The Neighborhood Table (TNT), and Rapids Family Backpacks (RFB) have merged into one nonprofit organization to better combat food insecurity and develop related services in the South Wood County area. The new organization’s name is Feeding Our Communities with United Services (FOCUS). All current services will continue under the merged organization.
FOCUS will be led by a board of directors headed by Terri Rapp, chair; Mary Schultz, vice chair; Dale Bikowski, treasurer; and Scott Stewart, secretary. Directors include Barb Bondioli, Cindy Holberg, Lisa Borre, Mare DeByl, and Andrea Weiland.
This merger builds upon the shared commitment by SWEPS, TNT and RFB for serving residents of the South Wood County area with dignity and respect and improves upon the services already provided. Additionally, FOCUS will immediately begin exploring opportunities to expand services.
Until a shared location can be identified to house the combined organizations, each organization will conduct “business as usual” in their current locations with no foreseeable impact to current clients. Clients will continue to receive the services they currently use.
A committee of the three services is working to combine operations under the new organization. The process for donations remains unchanged. People wishing to make a donation to any of the three services may continue to do so by making their donation payable to their preferred service.
“We are fortunate to have outstanding employees and volunteers who keep our operations running like well-oiled machines,” said Rapp. “Our first and highest priority will be to seek a location that meets the requirements of our various needs including refrigeration, freezer space, clean storage for our food, a loading dock, capacity for serving meals and space to fill the near 100 backpacks that are filled each week with needed food. We are excited about the future as we seek a location in which to co-locate.”
“While we are not able to immediately co-locate, the merger makes sense to move in this direction,” added Schultz. “Our like-minded goals to fight food insecurity in this area will make our community a better place for all residents. Once we are co-located, it will be a great convenience to the people who use our services to come to one location for their food and free meals that are offered in an atmosphere of hospitality and mutual respect.”