Beautiful cabbages bigger than your head, luscious-looking apples, corn, squash, eggs, milk, potatoes, frozen chicken and lamb, a gorgeous autumn afternoon and the happy faces of UnitedHealthcare employees greeted those taking advantage of the 4th annual Dinners on Us in Sturgeon Bay on Oct. 9.
The Dinners On Us program is a combined effort between UnitedHealthcare and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin to provide free groceries to eight counties in northeastern Wisconsin (Door, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Oconto, Sheboygan and Winnebago).
According to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, 1 in 7 people in eastern Wisconsin face hunger.
The program has been in operation for seven years, but has only been coming to the NWTC campus for the one-day distribution the past four years.
Last year Renee Ladewig-Lathrop of UnitedHealthcare, told the Pulse: “Dinners on Us is my baby. We were looking for ways to help food insecure families. Obviously in the line of business we’re in we know that when you’re dealing with health issues and your income is an issue, there are a lot of barriers to getting food on your table. This is just one of the things we do for food insecurity.”
This year, she was too busy to talk, distributing frozen chicken, potatoes and those previously mentioned massive cabbages, which at one point looked like they were the unwelcome guest at this event, with people repeatedly turning them down.
“We ended up almost emptying the pallet!” she said the day after the food distribution in Sturgeon Bay. “We only had approximately 20 cabbages left.”
In addition to dispensing 190 cabbages, she and her team also gave out 200 packages of eggs, 900 ears of corn, 200 spaghetti squash, 230 boxes of whole wheat pasta, 400 cartons of cottage cheese and milk, 900 peppers, 1,800 apples, 230 bags of potatoes and onion and 190 cabbages.
In addition to the Sturgeon Bay distribution, the UnitedHealthcare teams and the Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin semi filled with food also visited Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Beaver Dam, Milwaukee, Oconto, Fond du Lac and Menasha.