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Local organizations see an increase in need as holidays approach

Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 18:31:54-05

MILWAUKEE — Veterans were provided a free pre-Thanksgiving meal from Smoked at 225 on Tuesday. Owner of Smoked at 225, Jonas Mack said making veterans feel appreciated this holiday was his main goal.

“We wanted to give them as much as home feeling as possible. Just to let someone know you’re thinking about them can be the world of difference,” said Mack.

The free meals were handed out right outside of the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative building in West Allis. The Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative is an organization that provides veterans with assistance, from clothes to food, to housing. Executive Director of the Organization, Debbie Buchanan, said since COVID-19 hit, they have seen an increase in the need for services.

“We are trying to address everything we can. It doesn't matter their status in the military, if they served we are here for them,” said Buchanan.

From March 1 to Oct. 1 Buchanan said they have helped 540 veterans.

“We have vets who have been here for basic necessity needs because some lost their job and some have been evicted,” said Buchanan.

Over in downtown Milwaukee, at Interchange Food Pantry, a line spanned around the building outside as volunteers inside prepared holiday meal bags. Each bag was filled with produce, groceries, and families of for or more received a turkey.

“We want people to leave here feeling better not just because they got food but also because they felt loved and respected,” said George Neureuther.

George said the food pantry has been around for about 50 years, and although he has never seen a need like this before, he is determined to help as many people as possible.

Both organizations said since the demand for food and assistance is at an all-time high, so is the need for donations. Donations are critical for continuing service.

To donate to Interchange's Gofundme click here or email or by phone at 414.551.2184

To learn more about the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative click here.

They are in need of non-perishable food items, gift cards, and monetary donations.

Interchange Food Pantry is open:

  • Tuesday: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Thursday: 9:30 am to 11:30 am
  • Saturday: 9:30 am to 11:30 am

Here is a list of other Food Pantries in the Milwaukee area:

Despensa de la Paz: 1615 S. 22nd St., Milwaukee, WI 53204

Hope House: 209 W. Orchard St., Milwaukee, WI 53204

Zion Rock: 10230 W. Fond du Lac Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53224

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