Milwaukee County Thanksgiving meal efforts address community need

Food prices have made grocery shopping difficult ahead of Thanksgiving, Nov. 24.

In Milwaukee County, a pair of community events Wednesday worked to take some stress off of people's plates.

"They came looking for just a turkey and received so much more," said Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey, who represents the 7th District.

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There was a steady flow of cars outside Sherman Phoenix, which turned into a makeshift food pantry ahead of the holiday.

"There isn’t a pantry close by here, and we wanted to do something to help," said Sherrie Tussler with Hunger Task Force.

Hunger Task Force Thanksgiving food distribution outside Sherman Phoenix

Hunger Task Force teamed up with Rainey and fellow Milwaukee Alderman Russell Stamper to give out a few hundred turkeys and things like cranberries and potatoes.

"We don’t have many food pantries, so the people living in the surrounding area, this is doing a great deal of good for them," Tussler said.

Hunger Task Force volunteers said high food prices this year have made the holidays tough. The meal distribution provides a little relief.

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"Thank you," said recipient Melvin Mitchell. "Grateful. Gracious."

It's not the only Thanksgiving meal effort underway in southeast Wisconsin. At the Oak Creek Community Center, organizers expected to serve 400 meals.

Seniors had a chance to eat first, followed by veterans and anyone in need. The meals were made possible by community donations.

Oak Creek Community Center Thanksgiving meals

"Currently, there’s no community sponsored feeding program for Thanksgiving on the south end of Milwaukee County," said the community center's TJ Anguiano.

Twenty-six smoked turkeys plus other Thanksgiving meal classics filled people's plate. It is clear no matter where you are, Wisconsinites make sure everyone has a seat at the table.

Hunger Task Force said most people are buying bigger turkeys this year compared to during the COVID-19 pandemic – a sign that most family gathering are back to normal.