This December, in the midst of the first major snow storm to hit Milwaukee, our employees, family and friends ventured out with a mission to help others. Together, 25 volunteers joined together to serve the Christmas meal to guests of an organization called The Gathering. The Gathering is a local non-profit that provides eleven free meals each week, cooked on site at four Milwaukee locations, to those who would otherwise go hungry. The organization also offers services associated with ending hunger and homelessness and work to educate our community on hunger issues.

Gathering 2016 Full Crew

While the road conditions were less than perfect that particular December morning, everyone who signed up to volunteer arrived ready to lend a hand and a smile.

“It was important to be there for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is that, with the cold and snow, a warm meal and a place to warm up are more important than ever. Driving through some snow is nothing compared to what many of the guests are facing this time of year. Second, to be able to help provide some measure of the light of the holiday season is a great opportunity” shared John Dixon, Senior Manager-Human Resources. 

Our employees have been volunteering for The Gathering for over twenty years. There are always new employees who join in the volunteer effort but The Gathering attracts a lot of “regulars” each time. Like John, Alex Kustermann, Business Development Manager – Gold is a regular volunteer for The Gathering. 

“While time is certainly our most precious commodity, donating a few hours of it to ensure others can enjoy a hot meal which we may take for granted is extremely worthwhile.”

Gathering 2016 Cooks

Volunteering for The Gathering is one of the main volunteer activities that employees do as a family. For John Dixon, his children have “grown up” volunteering for The Gathering and this year his son who recently graduated from college returned to help. The Gathering has been a family tradition for the Dixon family over the years.

“It was important for our kids to understand that the issues of hunger and homelessness are not abstract concepts they hear about in the news. There are real people behind the statistics. Men, women, children, a true picture of diversity as well. It’s also important for them to see that it takes a lot of people working together to provide even a single meal. And yet…how easy it is for them to take a little time and make a difference.”

We support The Gathering year-round through financial and volunteer investments as part of our focus on Human Services.