Carol Wagner, Leader Correspondent
Carol Jaeger is one of four coordinators at the Divine Savior Lutheran Church food pantry.
Born in Green Bay, she graduated from Mishicot High School. Jaeger worked at Mirro Aluminum in Manitowoc for 37 years and then at WG&R Bedding for five years before retiring.
Jaeger and her husband of 47 years, Ronald, who is also retired, have a daughter and two grandchildren. They live near Underhill, where Jaeger has a large flower and vegetable garden.
Q How long have you volunteered at the food pantry?
A “I’ve been with them for five years.”
Q How did you get started?
A “We originally came from Manitowoc County. We bought a place here and joined the church six years ago. The first year I retired I had a garden and flowers, but it just wasn’t enough. I talked to Mary Krueger, Sandy Schultz and Joyce Frisque, and within the month I was a coordinator. It’s work, but I totally enjoy it.”
Q What do you do?
A “We have four coordinators, so every four weeks it is my turn. I do 99 percent of the shopping. On Wednesday, I go to the Shawano Area Food Pantry and Resource Center and pick up what they have for us. Usually my husband and I go bring it back to the church. On Thursday is distribution. Volunteers fill bags Thursday morning with meats and breads and vegetables. When the people come in, we register them. The size of the family determines how many bags of groceries they can get. In January, I start the new year where families have to re-register, but they can also do it during the year.”
Q Who can come to the food pantry?
A “Anybody in Shawano County. We started with just a little closet of dry products and kept getting bigger and bigger. People just love the way we do things and they feel welcome.”
Q How many people do you serve?
A “As of today, we’re serving 155 families. We’re only a supplement. We don’t stop them from going to any other food pantry.”
Q What else do you do?
A “At Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we pull out the names of 15 people who get an extra basket of food with ham or turkey.”
Q Why is the food pantry important?
A “Because it’s just so heartbreaking. People come in and cry, especially those with families. Every week, we average 25 to 35 families. We get donations, and the church helps some. We could use more money, but we’re doing OK.”
Q Why do you volunteer?
A “Just to help those people out. I just love doing the work. There are 11 families from the church who volunteer their help.”