The leading hunger-relief organization in the state

Anniversary Celebrations: Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin

Rain or Shine, volunteers fill cars at a local food distribution during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rain or Shine, volunteers fill cars at a local food distribution during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last updated on March 23rd, 2022 at 05:24 pm

Since 1982, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin has been helping our neighbors in need. 

From our humble beginnings and the first donation of 600 pounds of apples, to distributing more than 53 million pounds of food in a year during the pandemic, we are helping those who face hunger move forward. 

As we celebrate 40 years as a food bank, we are honoring our past and inspiring our future.

Over 40 years ago, Dr. Milton J. Huber, a professor of public affairs at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, saw a problem and sought out the Rotary Club for help. He noticed that overproduction and the overstocking of multi-department supermarkets in order to meet consumer expectations led to a rapid increase in wasted food. 

Huber suggested to Rotarians, Price Davis and Art Riemer, that the Milwaukee Rotary Club would be the perfect group to spearhead a food banking system to save surplus food and deliver it to people facing hunger in their city. A local grower provided their first donation—600 pounds of apples. 

Those apples laid the foundation for what has led to years of hunger relief work, reaching far beyond neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

Today, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is the leading local hunger-relief organization in the state. 

The nonprofit operates food banks in Milwaukee and Appleton, and receives food from retailers, wholesalers, farmers, government programs, and other donors. 

The food is transported and sorted before it is distributed to pantries and meal programs across 35 Eastern Wisconsin counties.

Due to the pandemic, protecting people’s livelihood has become more crucial than ever. In 2021, more than 40 percent of households were forced to decide between paying utility bills or paying for groceries. As supply chains continued to see disruptions that diminished food donations, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin purchased 529.34% more food to be distributed and executed more than 130 mobile pantries to meet the increased need. 

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin continues to remove barriers between people and food. For example, our outreach specialists connect food insecure individuals with FoodShare and other vital resources they need to keep their families fed and healthy.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin also looks at the bigger picture of hunger, investing in advocacy and policy efforts. Working with lawmakers to support legislative solutions to end hunger is a critical part of our work. 

To commemorate 40 years serving our neighbors in need, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is hosting “The Grateful Plate Gala – 40 Years and Forward” on April, 7th 2022. The event will include a cocktail party, silent auction, plated dinner, and a conversation with Katie Martin, PHD. Katie is the author of Reinventing Food Banks and Pantries: New Tools to End Hunger. Tickets and sponsorship packages are available at FeedingAmericaWI.org/plate.  

To learn more and stay connected with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, visit FeedingAmericaWI.org or follow us on all major social media channels.

Together we can solve hunger.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
1700 W. Fond du Lac Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53205
feedingamericawi.org/
414.931.7400 

Volunteers sort through food at the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin warehouse in 1988
Volunteers sort through food at the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin warehouse in 1988

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