Born in late nineteen seventies from the East Side Housing Action Committee (ESHAC), the Riverwest Food Pantry has been operating out of St. Casimir church (924 E. Clarke St.) and Gaenslen Milwaukee Public School (1250 E. Burleigh St.) for decades. From 1979 to 2012, the Riverwest Food Pantry’s mission focused on food as its end mission and over the years community volunteers served tens of thousands of recipients.
In 2013, the Riverwest Food Pantry became a 501 (c)(3) non-profit to relieve hunger, but also to be a primary offensive against intractable poverty. We expanded our mission to "come together around food to relieve hunger, improve lives and grow community well-being". Together, volunteers and shoppers alike, we can become a community of generosity – a community well-nourished, well-informed and strengthened to prevail.
HOW CAN FOOD BE A MEANS TO REDUCE POVERTY?
The vulnerable habitually gather as a community to eat, shop, and share their struggles at food pantries and meal sites. Food service agencies present an opportunity to connect the impoverished to additional social services. Regretfully, meal sites and pantries often lack staff or volunteers with sufficient training to ask the right questions, make good referrals or walk with people as they navigate complex community services. Pantries can reduce the number of barriers shoppers face, increase their quality of life and thereby reduce food insecurity.