state street

Update: The Gathering on State

First Saturday Cook Group preparing the Saturday Lunch at State Street

First Saturday Cook Group preparing the Saturday Lunch at State Street

Numbers served at the State Street location since our move in late March:  March 26 – October 31, 2017
•    Breakfast    30,611
•    Saturday Lunch    5,358
•    TOTAL        35,969

•    Larger dining hall space; easier to move around
•    Parking on site
•    No stairs; wonderful for those in wheel chairs who have difficulty walking
•    No stairs; wonderful for deliveries
•    Stable Saturday Cooks and Coordinators; slowly getting to know where things are and how things work in a new environment
•    Stable onsite Breakfast staff (Nicole and Pat) and stable management staff (Angela) with good communication skills, passion for their work, and willingness to work out issues with our host

•    Due to the larger footprint (inside and outside) we found it necessary to double our Breakfast security from one guard to two  
•    Again, due to the larger dining hall, we quickly found we needed more volunteers than at the St. James location; summer was extremely challenging
•    We have one quarter of the storage space we had at St. James for dry and cold storage
•    Because we share the kitchen and dining hall space with our landlords - St. Ben’s Community Meal - requiring the moving of small appliances and supplies in and out of dining hall and kitchen on a daily basis
•    Little to no privacy is available for our collaborative services

One additional blessing was the financial success of our Capital Campaign.  It has given us the ability to add the additional security guard and to purchase items that relieve the stress on storage space.  Thanks to all of you who gave to the Capital Campaign, and to those of you who have volunteered at the new location.  We remain grateful for your compassion, dedication and joy.


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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