Go Orange. Fight Hunger. Change Lives
105,000 children rely on Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin for food every year.
30 Years of Feeding Hope: 1982-2012
Thirty years ago Milwaukee became home to Second Harvesters of Wisconsin, Inc., a food bank created to “bridge the gap between hunger and waste.” A study in the late 1970s had shown that restaurants and manufacturers were throwing away usable food products. Milwaukee Rotarians Price Davis and Arthur Reimer set out to create the food bank with the support of the community. Second Harvesters of Wisconsin opened on August 1, 1982 with a 600 pound donation of apples. Decades later, our name, location and reach have changed but the mission remains the same: feeding Wisconsin’s hungry.
Board President Bernard J. Peck and General Manager Gwen McLean led Second Harvesters to success in just a few years. The food bank was originally created as an emergency supply for community food programs that needed assistance during difficult economic times. Shortly thereafter, founders began to notice that the demand for food increased quickly in just a few years. In 1984, the food bank received donated land from the city of Milwaukee to erect a permanent 24,000 square foot warehouse. One year later, Second Harvesters opened its doors at its new north side location on 17th and Fond du Lac Avenue. In 1987, the food bank doubled in size to 48,000 square feet complete with a new refrigerated section to store perishable foods. In five years, Second Harvesters had formed its roots in the community.
Thirty years later, we’re providing food to 330,000 people across eastern Wisconsin, triple the number of people we served when we opened our doors in 1982. In 1984, Second Harvesters distributed 4.2 million pounds of food to 260 programs in the state. Last year, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin distributed a record 15.4 million pounds of food to nearly 1,000 meal programs, pantries and shelters. This reach would not be possible without the unwavering support of generous donors, volunteers, key community members and leaders throughout the years.
Norris and Carol Jones, Oshkosh, have given to the food bank since 2001. “We know how well run Feeding America is and maximizing every dollar is critical to completing your mission,” said Carol Jones, “I know the value of giving to food pantries and I feel compelled to share my good fortune with others.” Norris and Carol Jones are both retired and live close to the Feeding America distribution center in Omro. As a privately funded food bank, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin relies on donors like the Jones’ who support us year after year.
With more Wisconsinites living below the poverty level then in 1982, a thirty percent increase in demand for food over the last two years, a struggling economy and high unemployment; we anticipate the need for food won’t diminish anytime soon. We hope you will join with us in celebrating 30 years of feeding hope as we continue fighting hunger and changing lives.
Click here to share YOUR story with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
- About Us
- How You Can Help