Distribution of diabetic-friendly Thanksgiving baskets

MILWAUKEE — The holiday season is in full swing, and a resource center in Milwaukee is making sure families in the community have a fresh meal to enjoy with their families this Thanksgiving.

The Ascension Ebenezer Health Resource Center on the north side of Milwaukee has a one-stop food pantry, which distributes diabetic-friendly foods.

“We specialize in helping people with chronic illnesses. We run diabetes education and nutrition classes,” said Julia Means, resource center coordinator.

Means works alongside site coordinator Jackie Johnson. Both men have been separated from the center for more than 15 years and said they work to serve people with their hearts. After a particularly difficult holiday period last year, they wanted to make this year even more special.

“There are people who need our help,” Johnson said. “We hear a lot of stories that if we didn’t do that they couldn’t have dinner.”

The resource center distributes baskets at each thanksgiving. Individuals are selected for these baskets through a nomination process. Donations for the pantry typically come from Ascension, Hunger Task Force, Feeding America, and private donors.

Kim Brown is a Milwaukee resident who will be able to enjoy a home-cooked meal with her family this year, thanks to the center.

“I have five kids and the food stamps only last for a while,” Brown said.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, she has chosen to stay home with her children this year and will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. she said she was grateful to have resources like this in a place she calls home.

“A lot of families are still struggling, even with the extra help,” she said. “It helps us a lot and I really appreciate it.”

Staff said this is just one of many holiday campaigns that have had a positive impact on families and they hope it will continue for as long as possible.

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