MILWAUKEE -- Thanksgiving and Christmas might be weeks and months away, but the holidays will be approaching quickly. In order for needy families to have a hot, holiday dinner in time, donations need to come in early. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett declared Monday, Oct. 1st as “Food for Families” Day -- to kick off the holiday donation season.
Monday's declaration officially kicked off the Hunger Task Force's annual campaign to collect non-perishable food items for needy families.
“One in two children is living in poverty. One in four families is struggling, trying to make ends meet and may not have enough money to purchase food at the end of the day,” Hunger Task Force Director Sherrie Tussler said.
For the next 12 weeks, volunteers will be rolling out big blue collection bins at area grocery stores, schools, churches and workplaces. Drug store chain, Walgreens, is a new site to shop and donate.
“There are going to be as many as 500 barrels in the community,” Tussler said.
For the sixth straight year, Johnson Controls is sponsoring the program -- collecting about 350,000 pounds of food.
This time, the goal is even higher. Organizers hope to reach 500,000 pounds of food due to a shortage of summer donations and the impact of Mother Nature.
“The drought has really had a huge impact on how much food has been donated, as well as the pricing of food. We anticipate by the spring of next year, we're going to see significant increases at the grocery store in terms of pricing,” Tussler said.
When it comes to donations, Tussler says breakfast cereals, canned fruits, canned vegetables and healthy food for children are always needed.
The “Food for Families” program runs through December 31st.
Any business, organization or family who would like to start their own "Food for Families" food drive or donate to the Hunger Task force can sign up online here.