When we decided to serve free meals to our community when this crisis first struck Milwaukee, we didn’t do it for attention; we did it because we were called to action. As wage workers ourselves – with little safety net, even less in savings, and few (if any) groceries at the crib cause we are always working and didn’t have time to stock up before shit got real – we knew we had to do something to help make sure our community got fed.
On Wednesday 18 March, we opened at 11am with 85 free meals… by 2pm they were all gone. That Thursday, we opened at 11am with nearly 150 meals… by 1pm they were all gone. On Friday, we opened at 11am and by 3pm, 200 meals had walked out the door. These days we serve over 5,000 meals per week, and the demand shows no sign of slowing up. What’s more, while a lot of the people we have been feeding have been a constituency that often rely on free assistance to feed themselves, we are seeing more and more patrons who are not the traditional food bank clientele – wage workers who have been laid off, service industry folks with no job to go to and not enough in the bank to eat at home much longer, and neighbors who are delivering meals to community members and families who are quarantined without supplies. We anticipate the need will only grow larger with every passing day of this crisis.
In times like these, when the target is constantly moving and all we can do is make the best informed decisions, we had to pivot from our original plan of serving paying customers curb-side and via delivery. We don’t know how long this crisis will last, but we plan on cooking free meals for any Milwaukeean in need until we run out of food, run out of money, or are told to go home. In an effort to keep the movement alive, we have been redistributing some of our donations to area restaurants to help fill our coolers and freezers with plenty of nourishing meals for the months ahead, while helping them pay the few folks they are able to maintain on their payroll. We have been working with Strange Town, Goodkind, Three Brothers, Terri Lynn’s Soul Food Diner, The National Cafe, Bavette, DanDan, The Laughing Taco, Delicious Bites, Club Charlie’s, Emerald City Catering, the Focused Fork, The Pasta Tree, Public Table, FreshChef, Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern, Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, Amilinda, Lazy Susan, Brandywine, McBob’s, Gingerz Pub, Tall Guy + A Grill, Cloud Red, Company Brewing, Cafe Corazon, Belli’s Bistro, Sauce + Spice Pizza, Orenda Cafe, Milwaukee Classic Pizza, Rise and Grind Cafe, Holy Land Deli + Bakery, Sanford, Razzle Dazzle Catering, Birch + Butcher, Meat on the Street, Mi Casa Su Cafe, Big Daddy’s BBQ + Soul Food, Old Town Serbian Gourmet, Fauntleroy, and local Somali chef, Halimo Geal, to supplement our supply of meals, and hope to spread the love as much as we can.
Love, Peace, + Chicken Grease
Caitlin + The Tandem Crew
Down-to-earth food with fresh-from-the-earth ingredients…
A full lunch and dinner menu features many familiar standbys, a seasonal specials menu provides unique and ever-changing offerings, and a 100-year-old wood bar slings drinks to go with your meal!
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