Shelters, pantries receiving food service upgrades

Six area shelters and food pantries will be better equipped to serve their clients for years to come through capital improvement projects supported by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Grants totaling more than $150,000 are enabling these local agencies to replace or repair appliances, renovate kitchen spaces and upgrade infrastructure in 2017 to ensure safe, reliable food services.

“We want the best possible environment for our clients while they heal from their trauma,” said Angela Mancuso, executive director of The Women’s Center, an emergency domestic violence shelter in Waukesha that just celebrated its 40th anniversary. “This renovation means a lot to our residents because they share this kitchen space, and the improvements are designed to make food preparation easier for them. In addition, the new appliances will be better able to stand up to the heavy workload they receive.”

The Women’s Center, which houses approximately 300 women and children annually, received a $30,450 grant from the Foundation to upgrade its 15-year-old kitchen, which provides more than 25,000 meals per year.

“Healthy and safe families are an essential facet of the community,”  said Marie Weiss, a Foundation donor who has supported The Women’s Center. “The Women’s Center offers an environment that enables women and their families to heal. Philanthropy plays a vital role in this healing process through financial support of projects that help create a safe and functional environment, like this major kitchen renovation, to facilitate positive outcomes for the women.”

The renovation will improve the client experience and allow for more efficient and reliable meal preparation and clean-up through replacing residential appliances with heavy duty units and creating a more welcoming gathering space. New sinks, countertops, flooring, plumbing and electrical are included in the project.

Other projects the Foundation is supporting include:

  • Walker’s Point Youth and Family Center - $50,000 to remodel the shelter kitchen, including design and architecture, plumbing, electrical, new appliances, fixtures, cabinets, windows and flooring.
  • House of Peace - $31,050 to improve the emergency food pantry, including a commercial walk-in freezer and industrial shelving.
  • Cathedral Center - $25,882 to upgrade the shelter’s food service, including commercial appliances, cafeteria tables, child chairs, roasters, food carts and waste receptacles.
  • Hope House of Milwaukee - $7,507 to repair and replace equipment related to the walk-in cooler.
  • Hmong American Friendship Association - $7,408 to purchase a commercial refrigerator and freezer, plus related equipment and electrical service.

“These grants continue the Foundation’s commitment to helping individuals and families stabilize their lives by ensuring access to basic needs,” said Pa Sponcia, associate program officer at the Foundation.