Friendly Competition Fuels Hunger Relief Effort in Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wis., like many communities across America, is fighting poverty and the food insecurity that often results from it. Recently, the ERIE’s Wisconsin Branch office decided to do something about the issue by holding a seven-week long food drive to provide hunger relief.

“We chose to support the Hunger Task Force, a local organization that’s more than just a food bank.” explained Rick Gordon, Wisconsin vice president and branch manager. “They’re Wisconsin’s premier anti-hunger organization and have been feeding Milwaukee for almost four decades. They take an innovative approach by growing fresh produce and inviting people to volunteer on their farm.”

The branch started collecting food in mid-October. To spur interest—and more donations—Employees were divided into five teams. Each week throughout the challenge, the teams donated designated food items such as cereal and soup.

The effort expands—and succeeds
Gordon also sent a message to Wisconsin Branch Agents inviting them to aid in the effort. Agents stepped up to the plate by making personal donations and rallying their office staff to get involved. Agents made donations at meetings in Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay.

Wisconsin Branch Employees also left boxes throughout their building so that other tenants could donate.

The effort got another boost in the form of a $5,000 Community Giving Grant from ERIE. That grant was added to a separate $1,000 donation from the Wisconsin Branch.

The Branch’s efforts ultimately netted 4,500 pounds of food – far surpassing its goal of 500 pounds. In early December, the donation was packed into an ERIE catastrophe response van along with three other cars and delivered to the Hunger Task Force.

“The Hunger Task Force is a great local organization to get behind, and the amount of food we collected exceeded our expectations,” said Gordon.

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