MADISON (WKOW) -- Helping to provide the basic need of food, is the ongoing mission of one local woman. Elishah Oesch introduces us to the director of agency services at Second Harvest, Gina Wilson.
Gina Wilson points to a map and says, "this is a map that covers our sixteen county territories. This is where I look morning, noon, and night." Gina Wilson lives her life by maps, facts, and figures, and it all adds up to one thing. She says, "food comes first."
Gina's been providing food first for those in need her whole life. It started when she was just four years old. She spent her days in her dad's grocery store. She says, "when people didn't have enough money for food, when they were laid off, or no work, they would come to him for help and he never ever said no."
And now, Gina never says no, to people asking for food. "It's kind-of my heart connection with him," she says. Gina's been working at Second Harvest for four and a half years. They provide three quarters of a million pounds of food to hungry people, every 28 days.
Gina also has oversight responsibility for the Food Share Outreach Program, and getting food out to partner agencies. She says, "without them we really couldn't do what we do."
Thomas Bash runs the Deerfield Community Center Food Pantry. It's just one of the many places that Gina and Second Harvest provide food for, every week. Bash says,"what I really appreciate, she asks 'how can Second Harvest help us achieve that?"
In addition to offering lots of love and support at Second Harvest, another thing Gina's instrumental in are all the produce options. It helps people in need get a healthier diet. Gina says,"people love the fresh produce. There's a misconception that low income people don't eat healthfully, but when given the opportunity they sure do."
They also enjoy something else Gina's been instrumental in, these days. The opportunity to chose their own food, rather than having it chosen for them. Gina says, "families have the dignity and choice of what foods their families will eat."
Gina plans to keep these opportunities going. She says,"I just don't think there's any more basic need than food that unites each and every one of us."
If you'd like to donate to Second Harvest you can call 608-223-9121. You can also go to their website at secondharvestmadison.org. If you or someone you know is in need of food, please contact your local food pantry.