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Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership's free lunch program was a summer smash

Along with free food, the Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership handed out books and picked up litter.
Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership
Posted at 3:54 PM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 20:31:45-04

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee organization is trying to make a difference in its community one free lunch at a time. After all, free food makes for a happy neighborhood.

Once a week, the Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership (HNP) gives out free sandwiches. It rotated between parks in the Havenwoods area, which is on the city's northwest side. This was the first year of the program and they gave out around 300 sandwiches.

"Not every child in the neighborhood is able to get a lunch so we just try to provide that for anyone in need," Georgette Moore, a member of the HNP, said.

Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership
Harvey Young (left) and Georgette Moore (right) are both members of the Street Keepers program.

Moore is part of the Street Keepers. It's for transitional employees who may be looking for higher education and better employment or they might be looking to switch career tracks. It teaches program participants soft skills like accountability and leadership.

They make the sandwiches, facilitate distribution, and help with neighborhood outreach.

Along with the free food, they give out books, offer chalk drawing, pick up litter, and have a story time for kids and families. It's not just about offering free services to the community; rather, it's about showing the neighborhood there are people who are invested in the area and want to make it better.

Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership
About 20 to 30 sandwiches are made every week to be given out to passersby in the Havenwoods neighborhood in Milwaukee.

"The purpose of doing this is just to let the community know that there is somebody out here willing to help them," Moore said.

Given that the summer is almost over, so too is the free lunch program. However, the HNP said that it will be back next year. Instead of rotating between parks like they did this year, they hope to make the Kaul Avenue Park home base.

Members of the Street Keepers hope that their continued presence makes the neighborhood more inviting.

Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership
Harvey Young (left) makes chalk drawings with a child outside of the Kaul Avenue Park in Milwaukee.

"Any way that we can possibly give back, so that (families) feel comfortable with coming around, and they won’t feel like, 'Well if we go over here, there's something bad.' We don’t want the parents thinking like that," Harvey Young, another member of the Street Keepers team, said.

There is one more free lunch offering happening next Tuesday at the Kaul Avenue Park. To get more information or get involved, go to the Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership website.

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