Michael Jonas Has Overseen Food Bank Operations for 15 Years

Jun 7, 2024

50 Faces. 50 Stories. 50 Years of Fighting Hunger.

Hunger Task Force is proud to be Milwaukee’s only Free & Local food bank and Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader. In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, Hunger Task Force is highlighting “50 Faces of Ending Hunger,” honoring the anti-hunger heroes who champion Free & Local and support our mission to end hunger.


Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee’s only Free & Local food bank and proud to supply high-quality, nutritious food for free to families and seniors in need. Overseeing the distribution of food to our network of local food pantries, meal programs and homeless shelters is Food Bank Director Michael Jonas.

“During the past 15 years I have been in my role, we have made huge strides in the quality of service we provide to our emergency food network,” says Jonas. “We are able to obtain the healthiest food options for people in need and many of our network partners operate choice pantries which enable clients to select the items that meet their dietary preferences.”

The level of emergency food service available to families and seniors in Milwaukee County has nearly tripled since 1996. Jonas has played a pivotal role in improving the efficiency of the emergency food network through the introduction of the Standards of Excellence, which are a set of rules and best practices that ensure all network partners are serving people with equality, dignity and respect and food is handled and stored properly in clean and safe facilities. Jonas and his team of Site Developers work closely with network partners to meet the Standards of Excellence and provide service that is second to none in our community. Meeting a strategic goal, more than 95% of network partners consistently maintain high service ratings.

“The relationship we’ve established with our network partners is really valuable and it truly is a partnership,” adds Jonas. “We really are a task force and take pride in rolling up our sleeves to assist our network as needed. There is always a way if you really want to make something happen.”

Also, under his leadership, Hunger Task Force introduced the MyPlate initiative which increased the allotment of fruit, vegetables and grains per household available through the Hunger Task Force network. Today, the network serves more than 68,000 people monthly.

“The network partners I have worked with over the years are some of the most powerful, intelligent and savvy individuals I have ever met,” says Jonas. “So many of them are volunteers and dedicate countless hours to improving the lives of their neighbors in need. It’s so inspiring.”

“Jonas is amazing, and I don’t know what Bay View Community Center’s Emergency Food Pantry would do without him! Whenever we have an issue, big or small, I know he will help us solve it,” says Chad VanDierendonck, Food Pantry and Operations Director at Bay View Community Center. “ When I told him we were getting short on refrigerator space, he provided us with a new one in two days. Also, when we realized we needed some new shelves, Jonas had them delivered the next day! Jonas leads with his heart. His compassion is palpable, and his generosity inspires me to be a better leader.”

When Jonas first started at Hunger Task Force, there were no trucks or route representatives. Today, a fleet of trucks and drivers ensure healthy food gets delivered – at no charge – to every network partner safely. Delivery is one of the biggest benefits to the network because many don’t have the capacity to pick up all the food needed in one trip.

Prior to holding the position of Food Bank Director, Jonas served as the Development Director and Associate Director for a combined 10 years. Collectively, he has supported the Hunger Task Force mission for 25 years.

Hunger Task Force is proud to ensure a healthy and nutritious supply of food within a network of nearly 200 access points for hungry children, families and seniors in Milwaukee and the surrounding area.


Meet the 50 Faces of Ending Hunger!

Click below to discover real people making a difference in the fight against hunger – new faces added each month! As we journey through our 50th year, keep checking back to meet more incredible individuals making a difference.