Badger Box Program Will Continue
Fighting hunger isn’t a seasonal issue, but this is the time of year that many people pay more attention to food insecurity in our communities. Sherrie Tussler, the Executive Director of Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee shares more about the urban farm they use to produce fresh foods, as well as an update on Badger Boxes, the partnership between Hunger Task Force and Wisconsin farmers that came about during the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, it was quickly realized that most local food pantries simply couldn’t handle the large volume of food that was being donated from suppliers that had no place to go with what once would have been destined for store shelves or restaurants. Hunger Task Force snapped into action and began working with a food distribution company that not only had the resources and space to take on the challenge, but also worked with Wisconsin farmers and producers. The blueprint for Badger Box worked so well, they were able to expand their service area beyond Milwaukee to serve those in need statewide. With a recent allocation of $5 million dollars from the state, Tussler says that Badger Box distribution will be able to continue at least until May of 2023.
The Badger Box program isn’t the only innovative way that Hunger Task Force is working to feed people. When the Milwaukee county correctional work farm program ended, an opportunity was created. Hunger Task Force took on the challenge and started growing fruits and vegetables. With 6 employees, most being young women, and the help of many volunteers, this year the land produced over 600,000 pounds of food that was distributed to those in need.
The Badger Box program and the farm provide more than just food, Tussler says, they provide food with dignity. She says that having healthy food that is high quality means so much to the recipients. With canned food drives during the holidays she says remember to think about the over all health of the items you’re donating. Low sodium canned vegetables, low sugar cereal options and even infant formula are much needed and very appreciated items that are in high demand.