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WATERFORD — The Waterford Lion’s Club is hosting its first annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Waterford on March 17 for the purpose of providing food for those in need.

In addition to being a festive and fun event, non-perishable food items will be collected at the parade and donated to local food pantries. Parade-goers are encouraged to bring items to donate.

The event will start at 6:30 p.m., at  Zeb’s Gas Station. The parade will process two blocks down Main Street in Waterford and end at the Mob Craft parking lot.

Those who enter the parade – walking, riding, singing, dancing, or driving a float – will also be eligible for prizes. Even though the parade is a few days away, there is just enough time to register your entry on the Lion’s Club website’s parade page.

Fighting food insecurities in Waterford

The Lion’s Club of Waterford, which is helping to put on the event, states on its website that local food banks are serving more than double the number of families since 2021.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a favorite holiday in the U.S. because of the million-plus Irish who came here to escape The Great Hunger. Now in our own Wisconsin communities, we are seeing a great deal of hunger. What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with a parade that fills some empty food pantry shelves, followed by a street party,” says the Lions Club of Waterford’s website.

According to Feeding America, in Wisconsin alone, more than 415,000 people are facing hunger, including 161,000 children.

Another challenge impacting Wisconsin is rising food costs. The USDA states in 2022, food prices increased by 9.9%. Food-at-home prices increased by 11.4%, while food-away-from-home prices increased by 7.7%.

In addition, Wisconsinites are facing cuts to FoodShare benefits. The additional increase in food stamp benefits during the pandemic has ended.

For example, according to DHS, in Feb. 2023, a household was eligible for $281 in regular FoodShare benefits plus $95 in extra COVID-19 FoodShare benefits for a total of $376. However, in March 2023 and looking forward, the households will no longer get the extra $95 of benefits. With food prices that are averaging about 10% higher prices, this means this example household is actually getting the equivalent of $253 per month when you factor in the higher prices.

For multiple reasons, food insecurities are impacting neighbors in local communities, but this year’s parade is working to fight food insecurities.

Swag will be handed out for donations and non-perishable food items. The Lion’s Club of Waterford float will also pick up the food along the parade route.

Desired items

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Dish and laundry soap
  • Toothbrushes & toothpaste
  • Paper goods
  • Cash donations

After party

There will also be a drive-thru food drop-off collection point at the southwest corner of MobCraft Beer from 5 to 9 p.m. Those looking to donate should enter from Division Street.

The post-parade “Party on 2nd St.” will go from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Any questions should be directed to The Lions Club of Waterford by emailing or finding them on Facebook.

More on the matter

St. Patrick’s Day