Southwestern Wisconsin is stronger when we all come together. There’s no better example than our partnership with Lodi’s Gospel Lighthouse Outreach (GLO) mobile food pantry.
Once a month, Cynthia McDonald, GLO’s energetic and passionate Coordinator, and her dedicated volunteers help unload a Second Harvest truck filled with nutritious food and set up a drive-through line for their guests. Over the next three hours, car after car will pull up, be greeted with a smile, get their food put in their trunk, back seat, or pickup bed, and head home.
At first, GLO supported about 50 families per month. But now, increased living costs and job loss in the area have driven those numbers up to about 450 families per month. Additionally, the fact that their guests live in a rural area, with fewer grocery stores than more urban areas and no public transportation to help get residents to and from the grocery stores presents additional challenges.
According to Cynthia, GLO is about their guests. “It’s about healing the soul,” she says. “If you come through that line, we will help you.”
“We see people who had a lot and lost everything,” said Cynthia. “Once all the bills are paid, the money for food just isn’t there.”
Joleen, a guest turned volunteer at GLO, talks about how GLO has helped her family. “It’s helped us a lot. Some months the bills add up quickly. But I know that I can rely on Cynthia. I wish more people wouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for help.” GLO has helped Joleen in other ways too. One day, after driving through the line and picking up her food, Joleen noticed that Cynthia was short a few volunteers. She asked if she could help. “Now I’m helping others,” Joleen recalls. “That’s huge!”
In addition to helping distribute food in the line, Cynthia, Joleen, and other volunteers regularly do home deliveries to families that can’t make it to GLO.
When you ask Cynthia why she’s so passionate about GLO and the families it supports, it’s personal. For 40 years, Cynthia’s family helped other families facing food insecurity by running a pantry in another part of Wisconsin. And when Cynthia started her own family, she shared that they “wouldn’t have been able to get by without family and community support.”
Today, thanks to Cynthia’s mom convincing her to re-ignite the family legacy of supporting those struggling with hunger, and a strong commitment from Lodi community leaders, Cynthia works with Second Harvest to support families in the Lodi area and beyond. “The great thing about working with Second Harvest is they provide so much food for free.”
Thanks to our partner food providers like GLO, volunteers, community leaders, food provider guests, Second Harvest, and our supporters like you coming together, we are making our community stronger. Thank you!