FAQs

What is Feeding America?

Feeding America is a national hunger relief organization that is made up of more than 200 member food banks and food rescue organizations across the United States including Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. Feeding America is the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization.

What is a food bank?

A food bank is really like a food warehouse for local charities such as food pantries, meal programs or soup kitchens. A food bank such as Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin receives donated food from food manufacturers and grocery store chains, stores it in a warehouse and makes it available to food pantries and other agencies who serve the poor directly.

Who uses a food bank?

Food pantries, meal programs and homeless shelters utilize food banks to access food to serve people who need emergency food assistance. Think of a food bank as an organization that is a “food pantry for food pantries.”

 

Where do I go if I need assistance?

If you're in need of food assistance please dial 2-1-1 to find a pantry in your area. Operators can help you find the pantry closest to you that best fits you and your family's needs. 

 

Who is Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin?

FeedingAmerica Eastern Wisconsin is part of the national Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization. There are several Feeding America member food banks in Wisconsin serving different areas of the state. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is the state's largest food bank, distributing more than 20 million pounds of food annually to over 1,000 food pantries and other charities serving food in 36 eastern Wisconsin counties. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin has food bank warehouses in Milwaukee and the Fox River Valley.

Who are the recipients of the food that comes from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin?

Local food pantries that pick up food from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distribute the food to people who need emergency food assistance. Those charitable organizations distribute the food they obtain from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin to more than 330,000 people in Wisconsin. Of those, 105,000 are kids, 33,000 are seniors and 118,500 come from households with at least one working adult.

What types of people need food assistance?

The people who rely on the food pantries and other charitable agencies that Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distributes food to are making tough choices - a single mom, choosing between paying the utilities or feeding her children; a senior, choosing between life saving medication or buying groceries; or a recently laid off worker, choosing between paying the mortgage and feeding his or her family.

Do recipients pay for the food?

Absolutely not! The people who turn to food pantries, meal programs or soup kitchens for emergency food assistance do not pay for the food they receive. In fact, Feeding America guidelines prohibit any food pantry or charitable organization from charging for food obtained from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. We are required to ensure this national policy is followed by all who obtain food from us.

How does Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin get food?

Most of the food at Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is donated by food manufacturers, wholesalers, brokers, retailers and growers. We also receive food from individual food drives. Food drives are an important source of food because they provide a diverse range of healthy foods that are in high demand at the food bank.

How does Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distribute food?

Representatives from local food pantries and other charitable agencies obtain food from our warehouses located in Milwaukee and the Fox River Valley. There are over 1,000 food pantries and other charitable feeding programs that distribute food from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.

What is the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin “shared maintenance fee”?

While there is no charge for the food that Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distributes to food pantries and other charitable organizations, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin does ask the organizations that access our donated food to contribute a shared maintenance fee of 19 cents per pound. A shared maintenance fee helps defray the expenses associated with transporting and storing such large volumes of food. So, for example, a local church that supports a food pantry and raises $1,000 for that food pantry, can obtain approximately 5,000 pounds of food from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. This model is used by Feeding America member food banks across the country, and has earned Feeding America a consistent ranking as one of the nation's most efficient charities by Forbes magazine.

What if an agency can’t afford the 19 cents per pound shared maintenance fee?

Agencies that can’t afford to pay 19 cents per pound can apply for a grant from the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin Food Fund. For example, if a food pantry applies for and receives a $1,000 grant from the Food Fund, the food pantry can use the entire grant to obtain approximately 5,000 pounds of food from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin Food Fund grants cover 30 - 35% of all shared maintenance fees to food pantries, meal programs, shelters and other feeding organizations. Every year, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin raises more than one million dollars for the Food Fund to help ensure that food pantries and other charities can serve the hungry in Wisconsin.

Where does Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin get its funding for the Food Fund?

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin receives monetary donations from supportive citizens and private corporations.

What can I do to help feed the hungry?

One of the best ways you can help is by contributing a financial donation. To donate now click here. You can also hold a food drive or volunteer to help alleviate hunger in your community. No one person or organization alone can solve hunger in our state, but working together, we can make a difference!