And while people across the county are willing to donate, getting to the Hunger Task Force food bank at 201 S. Hawley Court in Milwaukee during its hours of operation of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is not always an easy task.
Enter: local fire departments.
All of Milwaukee County’s fire departments — more specifically, the 60 fire stations in the county — will be public peanut butter donation centers for the Hunger Task Force starting today, Jan. 17.
“I had seen the need for peanut butter. Then I thought, ‘Why haven’t I donated peanut butter?’ said Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn, who initially approached the Hunger Task Force about the partnership.
“It’s just a matter of ease. With 60 stations, fire stations are located in virtually every neighborhood.”
Firefighters from all departments picked up donation materials from the food bank Thursday afternoon. Utilizing the stations as drop-off sites should make it easier for people to donate since nearly everyone in the county has a fire station within just a few short miles of their home.
In addition, most fire stations are open 24 hours a day, though Cohn suggested that donations be made between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. when possible.
The Hunger Task Force was “getting calls from people that wanted to donate but couldn’t get to the location,” Cohn said. “And we have 60 satellite donation sites all over the county. It was like peanut butter and jelly.”
Cohn said the partnership will last until the Hunger Task Force reaches its goal of collecting 100,000 jars of peanut butter, and beyond.
“The beauty of peanut butter is that it’s always needed,” Cohn said. “It’s the perfect food. You don’t need a can opener to open it. It’s relatively nutritious. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It can be eaten by itself with a spoon. It doesn’t really spoil … We’ll keep taking donations even after they reach their goal.”
Cohn also said he hopes the partnership leads to additional interactions with about fire safety such as smoke detectors and escape plans with donors who stop in at area stations.
Wauwatosa's fire stations are located at:
Station No. 1
1463 Underwood Ave.
Station No. 2
4187 N. Mayfair Rd.
Station No. 3
10525 Watertown Plank Rd.