Benjamin's House 2019

Benjamin's House is located at 1107 Heart Island Parkway, Rice Lake.

A volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Shelf in Rice Lake had to remind the dozen or so people lined up outside the food pantry on Tuesday to maintain their social distancing while they waited to be served through one of the building’s windows.

Pantry users accustomed to going inside the building and selecting what they need stayed outside and received roughly the same items this week.

Vehicles pulled around back were loaded curbside with goods packed into cardboard boxes. The food shelf is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m.

Community food pantries and homeless shelters have tweaked their services in response to COVID-19. 

The St. Vincent de Paul pantry isn’t the only one doing curbside. To encourage social distancing, The Family Enrichment Center on Heart Island will be running a curbside pickup food pantry every Wednesday from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., coordinator Sandy Mathieu said. 

Those picking up the pre-packaged items can stay in their cars and will just have to provide their name, where they live and the number of people in their family. 

Mathieu said that if someone absolutely has no transportation they can call 715-434-1332 and leave their name and address and a box of food will be dropped at their door. Please do not use this as a delivery service, there are only enough volunteers to deliver to those who absolutely have no ride.

The Family Enrichment Center is in-between two homeless shelters, Benjamin’s House and The Family House. Both remain occupied, but are limiting intake to those in dire circumstances.

Residents of the Family House, who usually must leave during the day, are staying at the house as a precautionary measure, Director Mary Hrdlicka said. 

The Warming House has been working with public health officials to sanitize its facility, Hrdlicka said. 

Benjamin’s House’s Executive Director Lori Zahrbock said they are keeping residents who may already have a low immune system safe through creating social distancing space. 

A plan is in place to quarantine and care for anyone who may be sick with COVID-19, Zahrbock said. 

Any extra supplies would be appreciated. 

Benjamin’s House: shelf-stable food, eggs, milk. 

Family House: hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, Lysol, gloves.

The Family Enrichment Center: cans of fruits or vegetables, ravioli and SpaghettiOs, macaroni and cheese, packs of crackers and cheese, bleach wipes, hand sanitizer.


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