Thanksgiving dinner for vets opened to the public amid COVID-19

Every year, Thanksgiving dinner is served in Milwaukee to those who served our country. In 2020, the event expanded to the public to help those struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Turkey, stuffing -- we have a boatload of pies,” said Steve Schmich.

McBob's and Tusk serve up comfort food every Thanksgiving -- specifically for veterans. 

"We’re up to about 300 individuals right now," said Schmich. "We have about 171 veterans confirmed coming from the VA.”

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2020 marked the fifth year, but it looked nothing like prior years. Due to COVID-19, the Milwaukee restaurants opened it up to first responders and the public.

Steve Schmich

"Also open it up to any members of the community who don’t have a place to stay, who have no Thanksgiving, no relatives and who just want a good McBob’s dinner," said Schmich.

Organizers said because they weren't sure how many people would feel comfortable dining in, they added curbside pickup and to-go options.

Christine McRoberts

"You get smiles on their faces when we’re handing them their meals," said Christine McRoberts. "They get to pick their pies. We just do our best to make them happy.”

One thing missing was the comradery between veterans that typically takes over the dining room. While the tables weren't as stuffed as normal, veteran and volunteer Jerry Brown said he felt blessed to be there.

Jerry Brown

"It’s important to be able to get out of the house," said Brown. "It’s good. It’s good for them. It’s good for me, and I hope I can make them feel better today than they would have if they didn’t have a place to come like this.”