On a typical Saturday morning, our food center is a vibrant and busy place. The pantry is open every week, rain or shine, largely due to the incredible and consistent volunteers who show up to support the community. Ordinarily, when one walks into the pantry you can hear a loud, vivacious laugh or friendly banter coming from the back room from one of our volunteers: Tamera.

While Tamera now leads a life filled with her infectious laugh, compassionate soul, giving personality, and friendly demeanor, she has struggled to get to where she is today. Tamera moved to Milwaukee from Florida in 2000. Dealing with the loss of her father, her mother thought being close to family would be best. For the next decade, Tamera worked through her grief while also working in Milwaukee. However, in 2010 when the time came to find her own place, with no rental history, she found herself homeless. Still working, and desperate to find a place to call home, Tamera was going from shelter to shelter and sleeping in parks. All the while, no one would rent to her due to her lack of rental history.

Even so, at one of the lowest points of Tamera’s life, she still wanted to find her sense of community. This is when she connected with NourishMKE. Tamera was not only home insecure but food insecure as well. Looking for a place to consistently access fresh and healthy food, in 2014 Tamera was guided towards our Mitchell St location. Brought to the pantry to fulfill her food needs, she stayed for the community. After receiving food a few times, she realized she enjoyed being around everyone. She had found a sense of community. And more so, she loved helping others as they had helped her.

Recently Tamera once again came to learn that she needed to find a new place to live. She felt the pit in her stomach again. However, the difference between 2000 and 2021 is now Tamera has a community that supports her. NourishMKE is a home away from home for Tamera, where she gets food and connection to other resources The support offered by NourishMKE is needed now more than ever, for individuals like Tamera, and others who have battled struggles some of us cannot even imagine. In NourishMKE people know they have a community to walk along with while accessing food and needed resources.

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