Milwaukee made national news last week for racial disparities in Covid-19 cases. In Milwaukee’s highly segregated neighborhoods, the majority of confirmed cases were concentrated on the predominantly African American northside. As of Friday March 27, all eight reported cases of people who died in Milwaukee were black (although there is anecdotal evidence that more corona-attributable deaths have not been included in the reported total).

Covid-19 may spread through and jeopardize this community for a number of reasons, including poor access to health care, and residents still working in essential positions in cleaning, health care, and retail sectors.

Sadly, due to disparities in health care, there are many residents who cannot safely access food now. The prevalence of illnesses like asthma and cardiac issues place community members at higher risk for severe illness and fatality if infected by Covid-19. Families cannot safely access grocery stores in this area commonly known as a food desert. Taking a bus to a food pantry or distribution site still poses the danger of exposure and spread of the disease.


Identify Milwaukee's most vulnerable residents, bring nutritious food directly to their doorsteps, improve community health, limit the spread of Covid-19 and prevent potential illnesses and fatalities.


UniteMKE works on the front lines to protect Milwaukee’s most vulnerable families. UniteMKE trains and coordinates community health workers who provide in-home care for families with the greatest health risks and need. UniteMKE has identified families that have asthma and other risk factors that make them most vulnerable to Covid-19. While staff know who and where vulnerable families are—they do not have food to bring them. The pandemic stresses the already fragile nonprofit eco system that serves the most vulnerable. Food banks in particular have experienced significant demand due to business closures and layoffs.


Wishes to secure food and other essential items for families in need, and bring it straight to their doorsteps. They are currently:

• Compiling a list of desired foods and other essential items.

• Looking for partners to help secure these items (in kind and/or cash contributions)

• Developing a strategy to prepare bags/kits for families in need (while employing social distancing and other strategies to limit the spread of the virus during the assembly process)

• Providing community health workers with a bag/kit of nutritious supplies they can bring to the vulnerable families they serve

• Improving the health of vulnerable families by keeping them fed