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Volunteer serves his 150th meal at Milwaukee shelter

Carl Johnson has prepared and served a meal for the shelter every month since 2010
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Posted at 9:59 PM, Jan 08, 2023

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Once a month you’ll find Carl Johnson in the kitchen at Guest House Milwaukee. He’s been coordinating meals with his church, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, every month since 2010.

Sunday night marked his 150th meal for the men staying at the shelter.

“It’s a joy to work here in the kitchen,” said Johnson. “We’ll cook several meals during the year right here in the kitchen, too, and that’s a lot of fun.”

He says he never considered himself a cook, but jokes he has become an accomplished chef in the process. TMJ4’s Mariam Mackar asked him why he continues to volunteer his time in this way.

“I know how appreciative people are of a warm nutritious meal with good ingredients,” said Johnson. “It makes us all feel good, so I know it makes the guys feel good.”

Johnson’s 150th meal was a hearty beef stew, potatoes, and carrots to help feed 90 men in need.

Christine Jacobs is the Development Coordinator for Guest House Milwaukee. She says providing a good meal to the men who stay with them is vital for their operations.

“We believe that a hot nutritious meal is something that shows them that they are worthy of dignity and respect,” said Jacobs. “And that is part of our mission: to help them feel that way and to overcome the barriers to housing.”

Jacobs says without volunteers, there wouldn’t be daily meals for the dozens of men they service.

“We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers. Our meal program, specifically, we don’t have a budget. So we rely on volunteers to come in and bring a meal.”

In the past year, Guest House has served more than 2,000 people experiencing homelessness in the Milwaukee area.

That’s something that Johnson says he’s happy to be a part of.

“I know it’s a small thing but every day counts, every meal counts,” he said.

And as for meal number 151? He says the menu is already in the works.

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