AT&T Launches Believe Milwaukee Initiative with $150,000 Pledged to Help Combat Hunger in the City

AT&T Contributions Will Help Local Nonprofits Focused on Addressing Hunger; Employee Volunteers Also Pack 20,000 Meals to Benefit The Salvation Army

AT&T* is kicking off its Believe Milwaukee℠ initiative today and pledging $150,000 to help combat hunger in the city. 

The goal of AT&T’s Believe Milwaukee initiative is to work with community leaders and utilize AT&T’s local assets, including financial contributions and employee volunteers, to help combat hunger and improve the health of Milwaukee neighborhoods. 

Poverty is one of the most pressing issues facing Milwaukee and has a significant impact on the community’s health.  In Milwaukee, many families and children who fall below the poverty line live in hunger or do not have access to fresh, healthy food.  At 34.4 percent, the poverty rate in the central city of Milwaukee is more than three times the statewide rate, according to the Institute for Research on Poverty.  

“Hunger is a real issue with more people in our Milwaukee neighborhoods struggling to provide food for their families than many of us realize,” said Scott VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin.  “AT&T’s employees have always been dedicated to giving back to our communities.  Today, we are excited to launch Believe Milwaukee and collaborate with local nonprofits to combat hunger and provide nutritious meals to those individuals in need.”

As part of today’s Believe Milwaukee launch, nearly 170 local AT&T employees spent the day packing 20,000 high-nutrient dehydrated meals for individuals facing hunger.  The meals are being donated to The Salvation Army’s food pantries in Milwaukee.

AT&T also announced contributions totaling nearly $150,000 to four Milwaukee non-profits working to address hunger in the city:

  • The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County is receiving $40,000 to support its meal programs that help address hunger and access to food in Milwaukee.  The AT&T contribution will support the Salvation Army’s 2019 Annual Family Feast, which serves a holiday meal to over 8,000 people, and the 2020 Feed the Kids program, a 10 week summer meal program for children living in Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods.  Additionally, the Salvation Army will be able to enhance its meal programs at the Emergency Lodge, which provides emergency shelter to homeless individuals and families with children.
  • Friedens Community Ministries is receiving $40,000 to support its network of food pantries in Milwaukee.  The AT&T contribution will help Friedens meet the emergency food needs of over 60,000 individuals served by its pantries, expand the Despensa de la Paz Food Pantry into a Community Food & Resource Center to serve more families weekly, and create new programs to increase healthy food consumption.
  • Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is receiving $40,000 to support its programs dedicated to ending hunger.  The AT&T contribution will help support Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin’s Bulk Repack program, where volunteers pack staple foods like pasta, rice and dried beans for local pantries.  It will also support their Produce Initiative, which purchases locally produced fruits and vegetables in large bulk quantities that are then sorted by volunteers for distribution to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin food pantries in Milwaukee.
  • We Got This is receiving $24,500 to support its mission to grow food naturally, mentor and train youth in gardening and delivery of food, and help improve neighborhood health in one of Milwaukee’s economically depressed areas – the 53206 zip code.  The AT&T contribution will enable We Got This to build a fruit orchard and two Hoop Houses, which are shelters that enable gardeners to grow food in the fall and winter.  With the Hoop Houses, We Got This will be able to continue its urban gardening, youth mentoring and programming throughout the year.

“Fighting hunger in Milwaukee is one of our city’s great challenges,” said State Representative Jason Fields.  “Too many Milwaukee residents live in food deserts without access to grocery stores or fresh, healthy foods.  Through initiatives like AT&T’s Believe Milwaukee and support from so many local nonprofits, we can help bring nutritious food to our neighbors in need.”

The goal of Believe Milwaukee is to work with community stakeholders to help combat hunger and improve the health of Milwaukee neighborhoods.  Believe Milwaukee is an extension of AT&T Believes℠ -- a larger company-wide initiative designed to create positive change in local communities.