Upstart Kitchen in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood celebrated its relaunched opening in September 2020 after plans to open the food business incubator earlier in the year were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Upstart Kitchen offers aspiring food entrepreneurs mentorship, training and community connections to help launch their businesses.
It had planned to open in the spring, but due to the pandemic, pivoted its operations to include meal preparation for Sherman Park neighborhood residents facing food insecurity. The food incubator has served tens of thousands of meals.
Ascension Wisconsin invested $50,000 in Prism EDC’s UpStart Kitchen program to provide more than 6,000 meals per month from September through December 2020, a welcomed blessing for the program which had cobbled together small donations for the first few months of operation.
“Food insecurity has spiked to an unprecedented level during the pandemic and the lack of access to nutritious food is taking a toll on the health of many in our community,” said Reggie Newson, vice president of government and community services and chief advocacy officer, Ascension Wisconsin. “As we look for ways to serve the most vulnerable populations affected by the coronavirus crisis, we are grateful for the opportunity to support UpStart Kitchen entrepreneurs and work together with innovation and compassion to improve the health of our community.”
Ascension Wisconsin’s contribution will subsidize UpStart Kitchen and provide diabetic-friendly and healthy meals for vulnerable residents with limited access to food during COVID-19. One-hundred meals will be distributed each week through the Ascension Ebenezer Health Resource Center to some of Ascension Wisconsin’s patients including vulnerable senior citizens, high-risk moms-to-be and high-risk diabetic patients.