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July 2014

28

Women files suit against Oconomowoc Food Pantry

An Oconomowoc woman filed a lawsuit in Waukesha County Circuit Court in April against the Oconomowoc Food Pantry.

The woman, Tammy Loehr, alleged in the civil complaint that she was told April 10 that she could never come back to the Oconomowoc Food Pantry and that a "nasty disrespectful letter" was attached to her food pantry card with a paper clip. She also claims that the food pantry denied her two milk vouchers and a $10 gift card that other patrons of the food pantry were receiving that day.

"I'm asking the court that my milk vouchers and $10 gift card be mailed to me. I'm also asking for $400 for the pain, suffering and humiliation that I had to endure because of the snobs at the food pantry," the complaint concluded.

In the complaint, Loehr said that she usually received three bags of preprepared bags, but that the food pantry refused to supply her with them that day.

"I was only allowed three cereal choices, desert, three little packs of hamburger, three little orange juices, two pens and four choices from one side (of the wall) and three choices from the other side, two cans of beans, one toothpaste, one soap, one laundry detergent, one dish soap and some books and one toy vacuum," the complaint read.

Loehr said in her letter to the court that she suffers from a variety of learning and mental disabilities.

Lois Jackson, who helps run the Oconomowoc Food Pantry, said the initial court appearance was scheduled for May 7, but Loehr never appeared in court. The trial has been rescheduled for July 5.

According to Jackson, this is not the first time Loehr tried to sue the food pantry, and they have had many issues over the years.

"This time she claims that she did not receive a gift card and that she saw other people getting the gift card. That is not true, because we didn't give out gift cards in the month of April," Jackson said.

"She said that someone followed her around, and she saw a note that was attached to her card, which she was not supposed to see. It was only for the volunteers, but she ripped it off the card and took it with her."

Jackson said the note said to make sure that a volunteer accompanied Loehr as she selected items because she has taken advantage of the food pantry before.

"We have signs saying you may have four different items from these shelves. This is over and above all the prepacked bags and the ground beef and everything else that the client receives. Then they can go through, and every single client that goes through has a volunteer working with them with a shopping cart," Jackson said.

Jackson said volunteers accompany everyone who goes through to ensure they are selecting only their allotted numbers of items.

The food pantry volunteer said the pantry's lawyer advised them to bar Loehr from the food pantry in the future.

"But she can send a family member or her mother, or someone else to come in and get the food for them. We certainly don't want to deny them any of that. But she herself is not welcome to be in there," Jackson said.

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