As we invest in the communities in which we operate we focus our resources on three specific areas: Education, Community Development and Human Services. Gifts of time, talent and resources are aimed at addressing the needs of today while building a foundation for the future. For employees in Milwaukee, WI the focus on Human Services has been directed to organizations that address hunger.
One longtime partner in the fight against hunger has been an organization called Hunger Task Force. The organization provides a safety net of emergency food to a network of local food pantries and meal programs. They are the only food bank in Milwaukee that does not charge for food, delivery or network membership. In addition, they advocate for social policies and strong nutrition programs that fight future hunger.
In early June, nearly 30 employees, family and friends lined up along the conveyer line at Hunger Task Force to sort food which would be distributed to over 50 local food pantries.
While this marks the 4th time local employees have participated in a food sort, it was one of the first opportunities for a group to sort food based on the organization’s new “MyPlate” model. The model showcases the five main food groups as presented on a plate. MyPlate encourages people to eat healthy foods by choosing the right types and amounts of foods to eat. The MyPlate model assures that vulnerable children, families and seniors who rely on food from the pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters receive nutritious foods.
The program also puts a focus on encouraging donors to donate healthy food, no longer accepting soda, chips and ramen noodles. By participating in the food sort employees gained a greater understanding about what food items are important to the food bank.
“This was my first time volunteering for Hunger Task Force” shared Komatsu Mining Corp Vice President and General Counsel, Brooke Alexy. “I now understand better that summer is time of particular need as kids are out of school, many of whom depend on school lunches for their meals. Also, I learned more about the types of foods that are in particular need-more healthy foods such as 100% fruit juices, dairy products (with shelf life), fruits and veggies etc. I know a lot of people think they are doing a good when they donate all those boxes of mac & cheese (don’t get me wrong, I personally love mac & cheese), but heathier foods are what this organization is really seeking from donations perspective.”
Healthy food provides a stable, balanced foundation for children and adults. An unhealthy diet can cause obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease, all serious public health problems. Hunger is a health issue, so Hunger Task Force encourages everyone to donate foods that are healthy.
In just over two hours employees sorted 15,000 lbs of healthy food, making the experience a great success.
“It was really great to do this as a team event” commented Alexy, “it’s always important to give back to the community. With regard to this particular organization, how can you not feel good about helping them provide healthy foods to those in need the local community