Illuminate Home
A shopper handing another shopper a can to put in their cart at a food pantry.

Fighting food insecurity in Beloit

“Sharing the necessities of life.” That’s the slogan of Caritas Community Resource Center in Beloit, Wisconsin, and it’s been doing just that for 50 years, providing food and clothing to neighbors in need. Caritas carries out its mission largely through donations and community gardening. In food distribution, it prioritizes the Department of Agriculture's MyPlate recommendations, favoring fresh, nutritious food over processed items. 

Since 2022, Caritas has seen a 53% increase in need for food along with a 40% decrease in food donations. This sudden change sent “economic shock waves to the community we serve,” said Max Dodson, Caritas’ executive director. The shift corresponded with the sharp rise in inflation and the end of pandemic-response rent and food assistance programs. Another contributing factor was increased food processing efficiency on the part of many corporate donors, which resulted in less excess that would typically go to pantries like Caritas. 

Alliant Energy, ever committed to fighting hunger, helped ease this burden in 2023 with a contribution toward the cost of food purchases made in lieu of donations. This allowed Caritas to meet the unprecedented rise in demand with the same food quality, quantity and variety as before.  

“Alliant Energy electrifies our mission. The company’s volunteers, local fundraising efforts and sponsorship signals to us that Caritas is recognized for its good stewardship of available resources,” Dodson said. 

Caritas is a food pantry and a well-known option for addressing food insecurity in the Beloit area. Caritas is also creative about fulfilling its mission in a way that empowers. Neighbors, as Caritas calls its community members who receive assistance, have the option to sign up for garden plots on Caritas’s land to grow their own food. Neighbors often grow more food than they need, so they donate their excess back to Caritas.  

Caritas operates a popular diaper and toddler clothing bank that also includes baby accessories, toys and furniture. Plus, neighbors can access books, personal care items and household cleaning supplies. And Caritas partners with local churches to make birthday packages to make kids’ birthdays extra special.  

Together these resources and services help the organization share not only the basic physical necessities of life, but less tangible ones. “These additional items perhaps help increase our neighbors’ sense of self-worth,” said Dodson. 

As a corporate citizen with a firm commitment to fighting food insecurity, Alliant Energy is proud to partner with Caritas to offer neighbors healthy food, basic essentials and so much more. 

Recent Stories