Food Deserts, made a Land of Plenty

by Kathy Hansen, Middleton Outreach Ministry Executive Director

Hunger is a multi-faceted issue, and the reasons for facing food insecurity go well beyond whether or not a family has enough resources to purchase food.

You may have seen recent articles in the Wisconsin State Journal and in the Cap Times about local Food Deserts.   A Food Desert is a place where there is little access to fresh foods through full-service grocery stores.  Often, if there are places to purchase healthier food nearby, the prices are high, and certainly, the selection would make it hard to make a meal for your family.

At Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM), we know that there are people in this community who are food insecure due to several barriers.  While much of our community hasn’t been identified as a typical Food Desert, there are many people in our community who still do not have access to food.

Can you imagine what it must feel like to live just a block from a grocery store, and still know that there is very little way to get enough food so that you aren’t hungry?

That is the case for many of the people MOM serves through our Mobile Food Pantries.  Many of our clients do not have transportation, and because of a disability, aren’t able to walk down the block to the nearest grocery store.  Even if they were able to find a way to get to that store, they wouldn’t be able to afford the food for sale.

Our Mobile Food Pantries serve two low-income apartment complexes; both house many people with disabilities.  If you saw the faces of these “shoppers” as we set up a free grocery store in their community room, you’d understand what a life-saving service these mobile pantries provide these isolated residents of our community.  These Food Deserts are a land of plenty, where there is enough produce, canned goods, and even proteins like meat, to make sure that they won’t go hungry.

We are grateful to all of our volunteers and community partners who are helping those who are in such great need, and to all contributing to the conversation regarding food insecurity. Through community involvement and creative solutions such as MOM’s Mobile Food Pantries, we can end hunger for our neighbors in Madison and Middleton

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