MILWAUKEE — New data from Feeding America shows about 12% of people in Milwaukee County don't know where their next meal is coming from. Child food insecurity is up to 25.5% from 21.1%.
"Costs are rising, there are a lot of families that are struggling to make ends meet. Families are paying more at the grocery store and getting less," said Matt Stienstra with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the increase in food insecurity.
According to Feeding America, 27% of the Black community and 20% of the Hispanic population in Milwaukee County are considered food insecure.
"Food insecurity or not having access to food, I think it's contributing to a lot of the negative that's going on in the lives of people," said Andre Lee Ellis. Ellis is the executive director of the Andre Lee Ellis and Company Community Garden on Reservoir near 13th.
At the community garden, Ellis is working to address food insecurity at the neighborhood level teaching kids how to grow and cook their own food. The garden is located in a majority Black neighborhood and one of Milwaukee's 13 food deserts.
He and the community are growing cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers and other vegetables. He's hoping to soon install an outdoor kitchen and also provide a space for people to meditate.
"I think it's important that we give these people that don't have access to go into the grocery store because they're a ways away, sometimes the money gets low, then showing them what can happen when the food comes from the ground. You can make a stew that you can freeze and eat on for weeks," Ellis said.
In addition to community gardens, Stienstra said there's other resources available especially for those experiencing food emergencies.
"When families are facing a food emergency, they should know that there's probably an emergency pantry near them," Stienstra said.
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