'Wanted to reach out:' Milwaukee family creates neighborhood 'mutual aid society' amid coronavirus

MILWAUKEE -- With coronavirus closing schools and businesses, including bars and restaurants, and prompting Governor Tony Evers to issue a ban on gatherings of more than 10 on Tuesday, March 17, FOX6 News found neighbors offering a helping hand to those in need.

At the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County Tuesday, donated food from The Pfister Hotel from canceled events was loaded onto trucks by volunteers for distribution to United Way partner agencies.

"There's a good variety," said Jan Wilberg. "I think people will be glad to get it."

Like clockwork, volunteers like Wilberg gathered fresh food, packing items tight.

"There's a lot of fruits, berries," said Wilberg. "We have a truck. Obviously, we have the time because we're stuck at home."

"Most of it will go to food pantries or small nonprofits that share food," said Phil Carini.

When FOX6 stopped by Tuesday afternoon, volunteers were taking the food to the Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee -- the largest nonprofit provider of domestic violence prevention and intervention services in Wisconsin.

Kimberley Bayer

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee's Story Hill neighborhood, Kimberley Bayer had her hands full -- juggling busy children -- but she found the time to write her nearby neighbors.

"I printed it -- I dropped it in mailboxes," said Bayer. "It took about 20 minutes total."

The letter let her community know of neighbors ready to help with grocery runs, making meals, or reaching out to those who need to connect.

"Loneliness is one of the worst feelings in the world," said Bayer.

Her neighbor, Amelia Brummund, was touched by the message.

"I thought it was a good idea that she took the initiative to put it together for everybody," said Brummund.

"There's so many negative things going on right now, but maybe one of the positive things is small communities come together block by block," said Bayer.