Holocaust survivor inspires local food bank
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, one survivor’s memory still lives on in Madison.
Thea Aschkenase survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. She held off starvation by saving a little piece of the day’s bread for the next. She dedicated the rest of her life to fighting food insecurity for children.
“She really knew what it felt like to be hungry and she didn’t want anyone else to ever experience that,” Lea Aschkenase, daughter of Thea Aschkenase.
Honoring her mother’s fight, Lea Aschkenase created Food for Thought to help food insecure children and their families in Madison. The weekend program was aptly named Thea’s Table, dedicated to Thea Aschkenase.
“For me, my dream is that nobody goes to bed hungry,” Lea Aschkenase said with her hand over heart.
Since its founding in 2016, over 100,000 meals have been eaten at Thea’s table. And what started with just two volunteers has turned into a team of more than 80.
“I never knew that it would grow the way it did,” Lea Aschkenase said.
Thea Aschkenase passed away in 2019 at the age of 95. Her legacy continues to inspire her daughter and volunteers to work toward a more food secure community.
“Given all that she lost, and she lost a lot, she could have been a bitter, angry woman,” Lea Aschkenase said. “But she took her energy and she decided to give to others and to take care of others.”
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