Flo’ing With Kindness is an organization in Gresham serving families in need with supplemental food. The pantry is named after Executive Director Barb Mendoza’s mother Florence Welk, who instilled kindness in her children from a very young age.
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were growing in early 2020, so was an unmet need for food in Gresham. Without a food pantry to serve the area, the FRESH Project set up a distribution site at a local ballpark, and handed out bags of food provided by the Shawano Area Food Center and donations from the Gresham FAA Alumni to an average of 100 cars every Friday night.
It was clear that the community needed a longer-term solution, so Barb and her husband Dave got to work. After securing a space on Main Street through a generous donation from Doug Hoffman, as well as refrigerators, freezers and utilities from the Village of Gresham, they were ready to open their doors.
Flo’ing with Kindness continues to be supported by wonderful donors and volunteers like local farmer Ann Hoffman (pictured) who provides the pantry with beautiful fresh eggs. A donation from the Shawano Area Community Foundation in 2021 helped purchase locally grown food from rural farmers, Wisconsin milk and butter from the Gresham Townmart, and propane that heats the food pantry.
But the need is great. The majority of the individuals who receive food from the pantry are seniors and children. Lack of transportation combined with mobility challenges is often a barrier for many recipients, so the organization is preparing to launch a mobile food pantry to serve more residents.
In addition to donations, volunteers play a vital role in fulfilling the pantry’s mission. In fact, with no paid staff, Flo’ing with Kindness depends 100% on volunteers to pack and distribute the food. If you’re able, consider volunteering for the 4th of July food drive or once a month to distribute boxes of food to those in need.
“We are so grateful to all of our rural farmers. The support we receive from the Gresham community is phenomenal and we wouldn’t be able to serve those in need without the help of so many thoughtful and giving individuals.”
The Shawano Area Community Foundation is one of five geographic affiliates we partner with in the Fox Valley. Our other partners include Brillion Area Family of Funds, Chilton Area Community Foundation, Clintonville Area Foundation, and Waupaca Area Community Foundation.