Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Gathering?
The Gathering is a local nonprofit hunger-relief organization focused on feeding Milwaukee’s hungry and homeless. Our Community Meal Programs - in operation since 1982 - serve between 80,000-90,000 free home cooked meals annually. We are one of Wisconsin’s largest volunteer-based meal program with 1,500-2,000 volunteers every year. The Gathering began as a Saturday lunch and weekday breakfast out of St. James Episcopal Church. Fr. Michael Stolpman in collaboration with leaders from other faith communities instituted this ministry of hospitality and food to meet the needs of those homeless walking Wisconsin Avenue. In March of 2017 The Gathering moved its downtown location from St. James to St. Ben's Parish on State Street. St. James closed its doors in October 2017.

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Who do you serve?
The Gathering welcomes all persons without regard to race, religion or lack of a faith belief, national origin, gender, age, handicap, or sexual orientation. Specific Site Demographics: Downtown location: high percentage of homeless individuals (60%); primarily adult male; racially mixed; an estimated 70% with mental health and/or addiction issues; 29% senior citizens (60+). South side site: neighborhood based; racially and ethnically mixed population; majority housed; adults, families, 24% senior citizens. North side location: 98% African American; majority housed; 25-30% children; 12% seniors. West side site: primarily low income senior population (88%); 98% Caucasian; majority housed.

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How can I help?
We’re so happy you asked! You can help by donating money, donating food or supplies, volunteering, hosting a fundraiser, participating in our annual Golf Classic or in other unique ways. Visit our Ways To Help section or call our office at (414) 272-4122 for more information.

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How many people do you serve?
Our Community Meal Program serves 80,000-90,000 meals annually. Food support provided to Our Next Generation serves 8,000-12,000 meals annually. Check out our homepage to see how many meals we’ve served so far this year.

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When do you serve meals?
Breakfast is served Monday-Friday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. at our downtown location. Lunch is served Saturdays from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at our downtown, south side, near north side and west side locations. (West side site serves on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays only). Dinner is served Monday and Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at our south side location. Please visit our Meal and Services Calendar for more information.

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Where are your meal sites?
All meal sites are within Milwaukee city limits. Please visit our Community Meal Program page or our Meal and Services Calendar for locations and times.

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Are you affiliated with a church?
No. Although we were founded by the Episcopal Diocese, we are now an independent nonprofit organization and an interfaith ministry. This means we welcome individuals from all faiths as well as those who are non-religious. Currently we rent space from two churches and a neighborhood center for our meal programs. We also work with many church groups to help prepare and serve our food.

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Where does your food come from?
The majority of our food (88%) is donated from government commodities, local food banks, restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, grocery stores, wholesalers, farmers and individuals. The remaining 12% is purchased. Each year The Gathering receives between 80 and 120 TONS of donated food valued at over $200,000.

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Where does your money come from?
The Gathering has a diverse funding base that includes foundations, corporations, churches, individuals, government (Emergency Food and Shelter Program), combined campaigns (Donor’s Choice United Way, Hunger Relief Fund), and special fundraising events. We believe in financial transparency and post all our financial documents on our Financial Information page.

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Do you offer other services to your guests?
Yes. Alleviating hunger is our primary cause, but we do offer assistance with mental health, basic medical and legal issues, along with street supply distributions. Visit our More Than Food page for more details.

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Do you have food pantries?
Not at the present time.

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