The Bronzeville Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded and run by five Brookfield East alumni that is addressing food insecurity in Milwaukee. Solomon Stewart (BEHS Class of 2019), Donavan Hunt (BEHS Class of 2020), Samer Bilal (BEHS Class of 2019), Cole Barnes (BEHS Class of 2019), and Cameron Bauer (BEHS Class of 2018) formed friendships during their time at Elmbrook that has transformed into taking action to help others.
During their years in K-12 education, members of the Bronzeville team were active volunteers for Hunger Task Force, Feeding America, The Salvation Army, ISM Brookfield, and more. "Our academic experience in Elmbrook helped contribute to our success in managing our college education and running the Foundation," stated Samer. "Our Elmbrook education was rigorous and our work in teams and different academic programs gave us project opportunities to expand our reach outside of the District."
On average, ten to twenty percent of surplus food from restaurants goes to waste on any given day, and Solomon and Donavan took this statistic to heart. The Bronzeville Foundation grew from an opportunity that Soloman and Donavan experienced when they were able to help ensure meals and leftovers for a person experiencing homelessness in Milwaukee. They partnered with Taco Mikes restaurant to help deliver unused, surplus food to those in need in the Milwaukee area through the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, and after only a year they have gained several community partnerships that are helping to provide food and venues for distribution. "My dad has always told me about Milwaukee being known as Bronzeville and how the community always used to come together to help each other out," said Stewart. "Our hope is to reinvigorate that passion for helping others through our organization and to be a symbol of community unity for our society."
Today, the Bronzeville team is attending higher education around the country and managing their academics while running the organization by tapping into a base of volunteers. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues of social justice and food insecurity have become as important as ever and the team is hoping to help turn the tide. "There's a lot of things out there that are distracting us from important issues right outside our doorsteps," reflected Donavan. "We hope to be the change we want to see in the world and inspire others to act."
"It's plain and simple, we love to help people," said Cole. "Milwaukee will always be home and any opportunity we have to help the underserved is worth taking charge of." In the future, Bronzeville hopes to expand the program to meet the needs of those experiencing food insecurities nationwide, beginning in Alabama where Solomon is attending school. If you are a restaurant owner looking to get involved, or an individual looking to donate to or volunteer with the Foundation, you can connect with and learn more about Bronzeville and upcoming events by clicking here.
(Pictured below L to R: Solomon, Donavan, Samer, Cameron, Cole)