Rodents shut Milwaukee meals pantry


Unwanted visitors forced the closure of a pantry in Milwaukee. The city says it’s partly due to ongoing rodent infestations.

Food is free at MKE near 56th and Townsend is forced to shut down due to a zone violation and rats.

“Hundreds of people, that is their main source of food,” said Syeeda Tatum-Hensen.

Food is free MKE is a resource for those in need.

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Tatum-Hensen does not run the business, but owns the house in which the food shed is located.

“Nobody asks you any questions. You just take what you need, ”she said.

Neighbors say it attracted a community of unwanted visitors.

“It’s overrun with rats,” said Dianne Kennedy, a neighbor. “I don’t mean four or five rats. I mean hundreds of rats.”

Sylvilla Banks uses the pantry and says the neighborhood rat problem is nothing new.

“Before the pantry came here, there were rats. said banks.

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” said Renee Laird, neighbor. “Our neighbor, who lives here for 20 years, no. I live here for a decade. No.”

Laird lives next door. She has killed dozens of rats and says rats chewed through car cables and left feces everywhere.

“We’re homeowners,” Laird said. “It’s a nice, clean one, and now we have this rat infestation. We have a free 24-hour rat food buffet and it has to go.”

When people filled the pantry, city guides confirmed that food is free. MKE has been instructed to cease operations by Monday, July 26th.

The organizer of Food is Free MKE did not respond to a request for comment from FOX6, but neighbors share their thoughts.

“Damn it,” said Kennedy. “Lock it up. Burn it. We’re just fed up with these rats.”

“We appreciate her trying to help, but it just shouldn’t be here,” Laird said.

The owner of the house said she and the woman in charge of the operation plan to meet with the city in September.