USM Community Donates More than $27,000 to Riverwest Food Pantry

On Tuesday, June 9, University School of Milwaukee teachers and students visited Riverwest Food Pantry to present a check in the amount of $27,923.50 to the organization. The money was raised through a combination of efforts by 3rd grade students and USM parents to support the organization, which has remained open through the COVID-19 pandemic despite reduced manpower and funding. “This has been a challenging time, but with support from friends like the University School of Milwaukee we are remaining open to offer food services,” said Vin Noth, executive director of Riverwest Food Pantry.

As part of their USM@HOME curriculum, 3rd grade students were challenged to create something—an idea, product, or event—that would make a difference for others during the pandemic. The students participated in a wide variety of projects, from distributing cookies to making masks, and several students focused on projects that supported Riverwest Food Pantry specifically. James Reimer ’29 developed the Riverwest Ride for Charity event, during which he rode his bike on Fratney Street in Milwaukee for six hours and raised an impressive $923.50 from his efforts. Meanwhile, Coughlin Mellowes ’29 and his older sister, Murphy Mellows, prepared “kid’s corner” packages that were distributed to families during food distribution, and Katerina Kostopoulos ’29 delivered fresh chocolate chip salt cookies.

Third grade students have partnered with Riverwest Food Pantry for several years to learn about the cost of food and to make donations to the organization. “It is these real experiences in our Milwaukee community that can shape our children to learn about their city and the injustices that are very real and present, while also building compassion, generosity, and the skills needed to take action and make a difference,” said 3rd Grade Teacher Brita Willis.

In addition to the students’ projects, many USM parents supported the Riverwest Food Pantry by forgoing their lunch program credit at the end of the school year. The money was pooled together to support the food pantry and the USM Parents’ Association Wildcat Thank You gift (for USM faculty and staff).

Many thanks to all who helped support Riverwest Food Pantry and its critical mission!
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