People don’t always understand that Food Insecurity still exists in Ozaukee County, one of the wealthiest counties in Wisconsin. During Aurora Medical Center-Grafton's most recent Community Health Needs Assessment, which was completed in 2019 prior to the pandemic, 4% of respondents reported their household went hungry because they were unable to afford enough food in the past year. Additionally, only 35% of households reported they ate the recommended amount of fruit and vegetable servings on an average day. These numbers likely increased in 2020 due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on community members.
To address this in 2020, Aurora Medical Center-Grafton collaborated with the Saukville Community Food Pantry to support for the Weekend Backpack Program through the Port Washington Saukville School District.
During the school year, Port Washington and Saukville elementary and middle school students were sent home on Fridays with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food items. The goal of the program is to keep those children from going hungry when school meal programs are not available. Approximately 100 kids who may not otherwise have access to food during the days school is not in session, were sent home each weekend with a backpack full of food for their families.
In addition, we also donated a Flex Farm growing machine from Fork Farms. The Flex Farm is a fully self-contained vertical hydroponic system for growing produce. The Saukville Community Food Pantry uses the equipment to grow fresh lettuce. The pantry hopes to add to the fresh produce garden in the future.