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Riverwest Food Pantry

The family worked this past Saturday morning at the Riverwest Food Pantry. We wanted the kids to get into the habit of giving time, not just money, to help those people and families down on their luck. The kids had never done it before and they were a tad apprehensive at the start. Thankfully, there were a number of other kids they knew volunteering as well.

It had been a while since I had last been at a food pantry and while the last one was SOME (So Others Might Eat) in DC in the 90’s during the height of the boom times, this was in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood. I was unprepared for the people coming through. While my experience in DC prepared me for those living on the fringes of society, due to the economic downturn, we saw people who weren’t previously marginalized coming through the doors.

Your heart breaks as you see people who WANT to work but unable to find a job. The experience was an eye opener for the kids. Elena was very apprehensive and stuck to Suzanne’s side the whole time. Zachary was only slightly less wary. As the day progressed, they saw how thankful people were and how, despite the rumpled appearance, by and large they were very nice people whose attitude and spirit belied the difficult situation they were in.

It reminded me of the saying about those who have been given much, much will be expected. In these days of stark greed and avarice, it does a person (and community) good to take time out to help others.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating food, you can contact Donna Fletcher at 704-6046, at her office at Gaenslen School at 267-5700, or at these locations:

Gaenslen Food Pantry
1250 East Burleigh St. (enter from parking lot in back of building, Door #14)
Tuesdays: 4:30-6:30

Riverwest Food Pantry
924 East Clarke St. (first door inside parking lot on Weil St.)
Saturdays: June-August 8:30-10:30, September-May 9:00-11:00

  1. David Nelson
    August 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    The need for food continues in rough economic times. Thanks for sharing your experiences. For those in need of food on the south side of Milwaukkee, I give to eat Despensa de la Paz – 1615 S. 22 nd St. Open Saturdays 10am to noon. Volunteers always welcome.

    • Ody
      August 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      Hear hear, David. It’s sad to see how many more people are in need of food. We’re a first world country, for pete’s sake.

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