Community Partners



Capuchin Community Services - St. Ben’s Meal, 924 W. State Street

The move is complete.  The Gathering at St. James is now The Gathering on State Street.  Coakley Brothers packed and moved equipment, food, pots & pans, carts, prep tables and more on Friday and Saturday, March 24/25.  It took a semi and two delivery trucks.  Gathering staff, board members and volunteers spent Saturday afternoon cleaning, organizing and stocking the new site.

Our first Breakfast on State Street was Monday morning, March 27, with 178 guests.  We were greeted with bouquets of flowers from our friends and new landlords at Capuchin Community Services, St. Ben’s Community Meal – Br. Rob, Dean, Mike and Mark.


The move was celebrated on Tuesday with a fire brigade style passing of the remaining pots, pans and food items from St. James to St. Ben’s with the help of 100 Brookfield Central Key Club members and 50 other volunteers.

It has been a stressful AND GLORIOUS process, this move.  Our Capital Campaign goal to raise $50,000 formoving, equipment and renovation expenses was met by April 1.  Donations of money were matched by donations of supplies, time, expertise, creativity and skill. 


The space at The Gathering on State Street is much bigger than that at St. James, so we could use more volunteers each morning than we have in the past.  If you and a friend or two would like to join us some morning, please know that we welcome walk ins.  Be at the State Street location, 924 W. State, at 7:00 a.m. and be able to stay until 10:00.  If you have 4 or more volunteers, please call The Gathering office (414-272-4122) to get on the schedule.


We are blessed!  People in community feeding the hungry came together,

and I am confident will continue to do so.



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A big move is in store for The Gathering this year.  We will be moving our downtown programs from St. James Episcopal Church on 8th & Wisconsin to St. Ben’s Community Meal Site at 9th & State.  Target time for the move is mid-to late March of this year.  This is not a merger with St. Ben’s; just a change of location and of landlord.  The Gathering will continue to cook and serve breakfast Monday through Friday and Saturday lunch at the same times and in the same way.  We are currently working with St. Ben’s on storage and additional kitchen space and will soon begin discussing the BIG 3 – policies, procedures and programming. 

The impetus behind this move is the potential sale of the St. James’ building.  Because we did not know whether or not The Gathering would be allowed to continue in that space once the building sold, we made the decision to seek a new location and to proceed with the move in our own time.  Both St. Ben’s and The Gathering come from faith-based perspectives and focus on providing meals to those in need with respect and dignity.  Hospitality is the backbone of both of our programs and we serve many of the same guests.  

As you may know The Gathering began at St. James Episcopal Church in 1982 as a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee with a Saturday lunch and Monday through Friday breakfast, primarily to complement the Sunday through Friday dinner served at St. Ben’s.  During these thirty-five years, hundreds of thousands of God’s people, both guests and volunteers, have walked through those doors seeking food and warmth and a human bond and have walked out satisfied.  It is with great sadness that we leave that space; yet we are filled with joy for the good work accomplished there.  

Please Note:  The move has no direct impact on our other three meal locations or office location.

We anticipate the physical move, renovation, and equipment purchases to cost $50,000.  To accomplish this move without impacting our day to day operations, we are conducting a Capital Campaign to cover those costs.  That’s where you come in. By contributing to this Capital Campaign you will help continue to provide Milwaukee’s hungry and homeless a hot breakfast and Saturday lunch for as long as the need exists.        You can give online by clicking here, by mailing a check to The Gathering Capital Campaign, 804 E. Juneau Avenue, Milwaukee, WI  53202, or by calling our office at 414-272-4122. If you have questions please call Ginny Schrag, Executive Director, at 414-272-4122 or email


Thanks to our 2015 Golf Classic Sponsors and Donors!



Mel & David Johnson

Law Office of Eugene E. Detert

Mike & Ginny McBride

Ab Nicholas

Chuck & Eileen Stoner

Hole Sponsors  ($100 per hole)

Advocacy Investment, LLC (1)
American Family Insurance (1)
Data Financial, Inc. (1)
Mel & David Johnson (1)
Joy Global, Inc. (2)
Law Office of Eugene E. Detert (1)
Mike & Ginny McBride (1)
Milwaukee Capital, Inc. (1)
Harry & Ellie Moseley (1)
Ab Nicholas (1)
Ruby Isle Auto (2)
Chuck & Eileen Stoner (1)
Twin Disc (2)
Bob Wolfgram Insurance Agency (1)
John Zacher (2)

Raffle Prize Donors

103.7 Kiss FM
Betty Brinn Children’s
Blue’s Egg
Bosley on Brady
Charles Allis & Villa
Terrace Art Museums
Comedy Sportz
Discovery World
Doubletree by Hilton
Dr. McGillicuddy
Florentine Opera
Fred Astaire Dance
Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens
German Fest
Glorioso’s Italian Market
Green Bay Packers
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Indulgence Chocolatiers
Greg Johnson
Joy Global
Klement’s Sausage
Lakefront Brewery
Marcus Center for the
Performing Arts
Marcus Theatre Corporation
Mike and Ginny McBride
Menards—Eau Claire, WI
Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee County Zoo
Milwaukee Food Tours
Milwaukee Irish Festivals, Inc.
Milwaukee Repertory Theatre
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.
Moxie Fitness LLC
Next Act Theatre
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Ray’s Wine and Spirits
Schlitz Audobon Center
Maureen and Gary Shebesta
Skydive Milwaukee
Skylight Musical Theatre
Southwest Airlines
Sprecher Brewing Company
Trader Joe’s—Bayshore Town Center
Teresa Trostmiller
Wine for Ring Toss donated by Gathering Board Members
Woodman’s Markets

2015 Volunteer Award Recipients


The GEORGE GREENE AWARD for exceptional service by a guest turned volunteer is named after founder and long time Gathering Board President. The 2014 Award was presented to Ray Pryor, a faithful Breakfast Program volunteer. Ray could not be present at the event as he recently became employed as a truck driver.

Breakfast coordinator, Angela, presents Ray with the George Greene Award

Breakfast coordinator, Angela, presents Ray with the George Greene Award

The following individual volunteers reached SERVICE MILESTONES in 2014 for number of years of continuous volunteering:

25 years – (Saturday Cooks) Vergie Bond, Toby Carney, Nick Eusch, Joe Graf, John Keene, Lee Klugiewicz, Roger Kocher, Tom Nabke, Maria Phelps, Chuck Thimmesch, Dean Thome, and Judy Young; (Breakfast Volunteer) Mary Rockstad; (Saturday Cooks & Coordinators) Shari Egan, Dorothy Evans; 10 years – (Saturday Coordinators) Harry Ansley, MaryBeth Ansley, Cheryl Ganske, Harvey Ganske, Marie Hoven; (Breakfast Volunteer) Deacon Ned Howe; (Saturday Cook) Tom McGinn; 7 years – (Saturday Coordinator) Roger Carroll; (Saturday Cooks) Michelle DaCosta, Linda Cesario, Roger Dickinson, Karen Meunier, Mark Meunier, Richard Thickens, Jason Thurow; 5 years – (Saturday Coordinators) Joe Kaja, Kris Ochocki; 3 years – (Saturday Cooks) Paul Acker, Sue Acker, Betsy Fryda, Amy Fryman, Nick Hirsch, Nick Hirsch, Lisa Hirsch, Regina Hirsch, Rita Hirsch, Erin Puariea, Coco Rodriguez, Millie Tillman; (Saturday Coordinators) Kelly Boettcher, Kunal Kapoor; (Saturday Cook and Coordinator) Sherry Walker

Volunteers played picnic games like Bags. For some, it was their first time! 

Volunteers played picnic games like Bags. For some, it was their first time! 


The following groups reached SERVICE MILESTONES in 2014 for number of times volunteering:

350x – Marquette University High School; 175x – Emmanuel Community United Methodist Church; 150x – Thomas More High School; 125x – Slinger High School; 85x – North Shore Presbyterian Church; 75x – Youthworks; 50x – Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, St. Stephen the Martyr Lutheran Church; 35x – East Troy HS NHS, Hillside Community Church, Northwestern Mutual, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church; 25x – Mt. Calvary Lutheran School Hope Club, 15x: God’s Work Our Hands, Slinger High School Skills USA; 10x – Associated Bank, Casa Romero Center, Christ UMC, Faith UCC-Slinger, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Manpower, Salem UCC, St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, St. Monica, Ulster Project.

Matthew, breakfast volunteer, excitedly accepts the Goodwill Volunteers’ Friend of The Gathering Award

Matthew, breakfast volunteer, excitedly accepts the Goodwill Volunteers’ Friend of The Gathering Award


Given to agencies, groups or individuals who have demonstrated exceptional compassion and dedication to The Gathering itself or to those we serve:

Jim Ardis and Dennis Stokhaug (Retired Gathering Operations Managers); Goodwill Volunteers (weekly breakfast volunteers); Duane Drzadinski and Compost Express (Fresh Produce Preservation Project collaborator); UW-Milwaukee Center for Community-Based Learning Leadership and Research & Marquette Midnight Run (weekly student volunteers); Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church (monthly muffin donations); St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (ongoing in-kind, monetary and volunteer support); Suzanne Foster and St. James’ Congregation – Mukwonago (thousands of homemade Christmas cookies and treats)

Volunteers enjoyed picnic fare

Volunteers enjoyed picnic fare


Given to individual volunteers who have reached milestones with the Fresh Produce Preservation Project:
35x – Eileen Duffey; 10x – Jill Kortebein and Lisa Kortebein

Christmas in July Thanks to Johnson Controls

You’re putting on sunscreen, heading to a local festival, or taking walks outside, so it must be that time of year—Christmas! For the Gathering’s guests at our South Side site, this is completely normal. Thanks to a partnership with Johnson Controls, we have celebrated Christmas in July at the Gathering for over 20 years.

On Saturday, July 26th, 212 guests enjoyed a special Christmas meal of beef roast, fresh potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, and ice cream sundaes with Christmas cookies for dessert. The meal was paid for by Johnson Controls, and prepared and served by JCI employees. To top it off, each guest received a gift bag supplied by JCI employees, and each child was given a treat bag full of wrapped presents and goodies donated by Maureen and Gary Shebesta. Holiday music and decorations added to the festive atmosphere.

Cooks prepare over 150 lbs. of potatoes

Cooks prepare over 150 lbs. of potatoes

The Christmas in July meal requires a special amount of coordination and planning. Becky Lange, who has worked for JCI for 11 years in various accounting and finance roles, took over coordinating the annual Christmas in July meal four years ago. She explains how it all works.

“We have four chefs (two employees - Rick and Pam - and two of Rick’s daughters) that show up at 6:00 a.m. to start cooking 200 lbs of roast beef, 150 lbs of potatoes and a whole lot of green bean casserole! We aim to have at least 25 volunteers to get the room decorated, get cookies put out on trays, assemble goody bags, serve the delicious food, make ice cream sundaes, and do all of the clean up. We also have over 30 volunteers who donate their time and homemade cookies to hand out to the attendees.”

Volunteers decorate and plan before the meal

Volunteers decorate and plan before the meal

For Becky, seeing the guests smile and watching families get involved are two of the highlights of the project. For many, this opportunity to serve the community is rewarding. 

“Personally, I think that we as a company can’t be successful if our communities aren’t successful. We as employees live in these communities and we should have a personal stake in seeing them flourish, which is what Johnson Controls promotes through our Community Involvement Program.”

Johnson Controls serving line

Johnson Controls serving line

Christmas in July is just one example of how a dedicated partnership can inspire creative opportunities. Through monthly dinner volunteering, board service, fundraising, Christmas in July and more, Johnson Controls and its employees truly are committed to being “People in community, feeding the hungry.”

Johnson Controls emphasizes community relations and community involvement, and we at The Gathering benefit immensely from this emphasis. Thank you for everything from jingles and cookies to decorations and dinner prep, and to all, a Merry Christmas (in July)!

The whole Johnson Controls Christmas in July crew

The whole Johnson Controls Christmas in July crew