Hunger Task Force, Palermo’s fill Easter bins for the hungry

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WEST ALLIS -- Peeps, Cadbury eggs and chocolate bunnies are what kids look forward to finding in their Easter baskets, but with 50 percent of kids in Milwaukee living in poverty, many just want a warm meal. Palermo's and the Hunger Task Force are teaming up and filling Easter baskets with food for those less fortunate.

They're not your traditional Easter baskets, but they'll get just as many smiles. "We've got a fresh ham, we have potatos, we have corn, we have juice, and to top it all off we put jelly beans in because we figure, it's not Easter without jelly beans," Laurie Fallucca with Palermo's said.

Instead of baskets, bins were filled with 40 pounds of food to provide 15,000 Milwaukee families with an Easter meal and a week's worth of food. "It's a wonderful way to help people out at the holidays, and people don't think about helping people on Easter, but Easter Sunday is a wonderful tradition, and we celebrate it here in Milwaukee," Hunger Task Force Executive Director Sherrie Tussler said.

This is the fifth year Palermo's and the Hunger Task Force have distributed Easter baskets for the hungry. Volunteers, including Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele showed up to lend a hand. "Anytime we celebrate giving back, it's something I want to be a part of," Abele said. "To be able to do something that's selfless and helps out people in need is just a great feeling," volunteer Chris Dresselhuys said.

This effort has gotten so massive that they had to move the venue from the warehouse at the Hunger Task Force to the Products Pavilion at State Fair Park. "In the last five years we've done 500, then 750, then 800, then 1,000 and now it's 1,500 bins. This is the most we've ever done," Tussler said.

"It's just a sea of food and buckets. This year I didn't even realize there was two sections until the pallets started dwindling a little bit more," volunteer Lacey Pazarella said.

The Easter bins were distributed Wednesday, April 4th to seniors and food pantries. As the Easter bins make their way into Milwaukee homes, they will truly make it a happy Easter for those who need it most.