Getting to know Vincent Noth of Milwaukee's Kinship Community Food Center
This past April, the Riverwest Food Pantry officially changed its name to the Kinship Community Food Center. The name change for the center reflects its commitment to serving the whole person who comes through its doors and to engage with the greater Milwaukee community.
This new name is also a reflection of the people who work at and lead the center, especially Kinship’s Executive Director Vincent Noth. The Milwaukee native has led the organization since 2012 and he’s highlighted in this month’s Milwaukee Magazine in an article called Vincent Noth is Nourishing Milwaukee and Its Soul by Elly Fishman.
"Being [with the Peace Corps] in Moldova really clarified for [my wife and I] a hunger to come back here to Milwaukee," Noth shares. "I think that, that is part of what has given me the staying power in this work is because I live in this neighborhood. I really feel like honored to be a son of this city and to be part of, I think, a long trajectory in trying to build up the north side."
Noth says his parent's sacrificial love and going to public schools on the north side were the most formative experiences of his childhood, and points to rediscovering his Christian faith and experiencing the power of creativity to help others help as sources of inspiration.
"When I get burnt out trying to send emails and fundraising and strategizing, I just go back to the center and something is reawakened in me and an affirmation of, 'Wow, what an immense privilege — I have walked with that single mom or that individual that is homeless right now,'" he says.
Noth embraces vulnerability — within himself and encourages others to do so as well, and says that helps create community and a sense of belonging.
"What we were experiencing on the ground was that this like deep need to be in community with the people that we had the privilege to welcome at the center. That deep hunger for kinship and community as opposed to, you know, we're here to help, you know, heal somebody or fix somebody else," he says.