(MILWAUKEE, (November 18, 2013) – Born in the late nineteen seventies from the East Side Housing Action Committee (ESHAC), the Riverwest Food Pantry has now incorporated to expand its services on Milwaukee’s northeast side. It will continue to fight food insecurity by providing emergency food assistance to low and moderate income residents, but in forming as a broader not-for-profit agency it can respond in many ways to the increasing need for outreach services for needy families and individuals residing in Milwaukee’s Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods. Approximately forty percent of the residents of this 53212 area code have incomes at or below the poverty lines, and this is only one of the four ZIPs served by the Riverwest Food Pantry.
“It is unacceptable that food insecurity is a way of life for that many residents in our community” said Vincent Noth, executive director of the Riverwest Food Pantry. “Our new course is to begin a community conversation around poverty, health, social cohesion, and our current food system.”
The agency will continue to operate food distribution services out of Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish located at 924 E. Clarke St., in the basement of the former St. Casimir School (now META House offices) and out of Frederick J. Gaenslen Milwaukee Public School at 1250 E. Burleigh St. The Riverwest Food Pantry is part of the Hunger Task Force “free and local” network and a member-agency ofFeeding America of Southeastern Wisconsin. Donations are collected and prepared primarily from four Catholic Parishes: Three Holy Women Parish, Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish, and Old Saint Mary Parish. Food donations are also received from Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, Saint John’s on the Lake Retirement Community and Christ Redeemer Anglican Church, as well as a variety of grocery stores, bakeries and community organizations.
As a “choice pantry,” clients select from an assortment of fresh breads, fruits and vegetables, quality meats and other staple foods during weekly food distribution periods, which are on Saturdays (8:30 and 10:30 a.m.) at the St. Casmir’s site and on Tuesdays (4:30 and 6:30 p.m.) at the Gaenslen site.
Hundreds of dedicated volunteers grow, rescue, sort and prepare food in order to run operations. Thousands of households donate food on a weekly basis. Many who volunteer are also “clients” those who utilize the pantry – the underemployed, those of low to moderate income, and elderly and disabled on a fixed income. Emergency food assistance is provided to hundreds of households spanning four northeast side zip codes—between 500 and 1000 people a month. The Riverwest Food Panty served over 10,000 clients in 2012.
“Our birth as a nonprofit has already triggered teams of volunteer community leaders to develop our range of services in the area of clothing distribution, community gardens, and nutrition education,” Noth said.
Individuals, corporations, foundations and faith-based organizations can support the Riverwest Food Pantry with financial contributions and donations of food and gently used clothing. The organization is now headquartered at 1716 N. Humboldt Ave., Milwaukee, 53202. For more information contact: riverwestfoodpantry.org, 262-518-2009 [email protected]
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