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Healthy Eats for Covid Heroes

Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Frontline

What started as an effort to get healthy food into the hands of frontline nurses at local hospitals soon expanded over the past year to include the staff at Covid-19 clinics in under-served neighborhoods.

Kathy Papineau runs a catering company and community kitchen in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood. After the pandemic began, she teamed up with her friend, attorney Jay Urban, to create a grassroots organization called Healthy Eats for Milwaukee’s Hospital Heroes.

Urban provided an initial $5,000 seed investment to purchase organic food and the hospital-required individual packaging while Kathy developed a menu of nutrient-dense foods, “brain food” as she calls it, to deliver to those nurses working on the frontlines.

During the the height of the pandemic the pair served hundreds of meals each week to the Froedtert Hospital staff – many of whom had their own inspiring stories featured on this website. (She was touched by a lovely "thank you" card from the team at Froedtert.)

During normal times (not a pandemic), Kathy specializes in making healthy recipes from scratch using available ingredients – locally sourced and organic wherever possible. A typical meal might be a Salmon burger, Cobb salad, date-coconut-oatmeal energy balls (gluten free) and sides of organic zucchini, fresh fruit, and vegetables.

Her long-term mission is to serve populations at risk and introduce them to healthy foods and reach the people who are most vulnerable. During Covid-19 her focus shifted to serving the frontline workers who were serving the community.

While much of her work during the early days of the pandemic involved long hours soloing in the kitchen due to social distancing rules, for the past six months she has returned to her roots of working with and training kids and volunteers. Another of her missions is to teach healthy cooking to everyone she can reach. "I believe anyone can eat healthy," she says. "And every day I work towards that."

Kathy’s continued success relies on donations.  Gifts like unsold day-old bread from Breadsmith or five gallons of veggie chili from Outpost Natural Foods. Once, at the beginning of the pandemic she transformed 400 dozen unsold eggs donated by Outpost Natural Food into a magnificent and uniquely delicious organic egg salads packaged in mason jars.

Kathy accepts cash donations via Paypal to help buy ingredients for her recipes. Info on how you can help keep this initiative going is in the About section of her Facebook page.

Kathy is also the owner of MKE Localicious Catering who prepare the meals for delivery.

Thus far, the initiative has raised a total of $10,000, but more is needed to continue doing their work. Donations can be made to Healthy Eats for Milwaukee's Hospital Heroes directly through PayPal. Checks can also be made out to MKE Localicious and sent to 531 E. Keefe Ave., Milwaukee, 53212.

May 05, 2020

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