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New hire serves up Food Pantry assistance

Candice Rapley is the new operations manager at the River Falls Community Food Pantry.

After 20 years of operation, the River Falls Community Food Pantry hired its first paid employee.

“I’m honored they picked me out of everybody that applied,” said Candice Rapley, operations manager as of the end of May. “I’m going to have a lot on my plate as far as I can tell.”

Ironically, her position helps those with little on their dinner plate.

“Everybody realizes that this is a really worthy cause, and the need has not gone down,” she said. “It goes up every year from the statistics I’ve seen -- every year since 2006. The need has gone up and the amount of food we have given out has gone up.”

Last year, the River Falls Community Food Pantry, 222 North Main St., provided more than 330,000 pounds of food to more than 4,000 children, 7,000 adults and 54 seniors.

“It’s a lot to try to feed yourself and pay your bills,” she said. “Its everybody: seniors, people who have families, single people, people who are working and just need assistance.”

Her plate will include promoting the food pantry, organizing volunteers, connecting to local businesses, updating handouts and bringing awareness to potential volunteers, donors and users.

Rapley said a big part of it was now offering a single contact for interested people who want to connect with the food pantry.

“Not having an employee, you don’t have a face to put with the food pantry, so I guess I’m going to be the face of the food pantry,” she said. “I really want to get around to local businesses to let them know I’m here and you can just contact me. They are what makes this place sustainable and makes this place run.”

She said if people were looking to donate, now’s a good time.

“Especially in the summertime, children aren’t in school so all of a sudden, the parents have an extra meal or two the parents have to provide,” she said.

For the complete story, see the July 4 print edition of the River Falls Journal.