WEST ALLIS, Wisc. — From donating just six cups of soup to giving away 120 bags of food a week, a West Allis church is helping its neighbors one meal at a time.
In the beginning of 2020, the Apostle Presbyterian Church on 1509 S. 76th St., started with the goal of feeding a few people. In two years, its food drive has exploded in popularity. Now there is an army of volunteers assembling bags of food, tons of free clothes for anyone to take, and even medical/addiction experts on-site to help those in need.
She won't take the credit for it, but the inception and following success of the food drive is in large part thanks to Apostle Presbyterian Pastor Cathy Manthei.
“I don’t care what you zip code is. I don’t care what you phone number is. I don’t care what your status is of immigration is. I don’t care. We have stuff to give. We're happy to give it," she said.
The food drive starts promptly at 2 p.m. Before that, those in need either browse through the hygiene kits and free clothes or enjoy a hot meal prepared by church volunteers.
“That could be me on any given day. That could be my children. That could be people that I love dearly. We all need to do something to help," Manthei said.
As it gets closer to 2 p.m., a long line forms outside the side doors of the church. The weekly food drive has grown in popularity. The majority of the 120 bags of food are gone within a couple of minutes. The rest are taken by people who come a little later.
“It’s hard to think about folks that are in need right outside of the door of this church," she said.
At the weekly donation, there are more than just church volunteers there. The West Allis Fire Department, UW-Milwaukee nursing students, and Community Medical Services are there to help with addiction or medical ailments. It's all about creating a one-stop-shop for anyone who approaches the church.
For those that would like to receive these donations, arrive at the side door of the Apostle Presbyterian Church in West Allis around 1:30 p.m. For those who wish to make a donation to the church, go to the church's Facebook page.