Milwaukee Guest House volunteer serves 150th meal to the hungry

Carl Johnson, a volunteer at Milwaukee's Guest House, has made sure no one goes hungry 150 times, serving kindness with each plate.

"Just to see the joy in the faces," said Johnson. 

That's what Johnson said brings him back to Guest House as a volunteer every month. He started volunteering at Guest House in August 2010. The shelter provides a home for up to 86 men experiencing homelessness. 

Johnson's service started with an email. The shelter reached out for help. 

"I answered the mail," said Johnson. 

Every month since, Johnson, an engineer by trade, spices things up while serving dozens of men who need a little help. He cooks something different every time, and among 150 meals, only one left a bad taste.

"I did a pasta salad, and it just wasn’t seasoned enough," said Johnson.

Christine Jacobs, the shelter's developmental specialist, said they rely on volunteers like Johnson.

"It makes our job a lot easier knowing that he’s going to be here every second Sunday of the month, and we can count on him," said Jacobs. 

On the menu Sunday, Jan. 8 was beef stew, carrots and potatoes. 

Johnson said the biggest lesson he's learned is sweet.

"To serve a very good dessert," said Johnson. "It seems to cover any deficiencies in the meal."

This milestone meal was a recipe for success, but no matter what month it is, Johnson's secret ingredient is always love.

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"They’ll say, ‘This is cooked with love,’ and, ‘Great job,’" said Johnson.

Johnson's goal is to serve 200 meals, which means he'll be serving at Guest House until 2027. 

If you want to volunteer, there are spots open.