In Milwaukee over 80% of the students that attend public school qualify for free and reduced meals.  When school is out, hunger doesn’t go away.  Many families rely on local organizations like The Gathering to help supplement their food budget when the kids aren’t receiving meals at school.   The Gathering is a nonprofit organization working to provide free meals to Milwaukee’s hungry at three main meal sites throughout the city.   

This June employees at our Milwaukee, WI facility volunteered to help at one of The Gathering’s meal sites located in a neighborhood called Washington Park.  Located just minutes from our National Avenue facility, this neighborhood is also where Joy Global builds homes for Habitat for Humanity.   Because the meal site is in the heart of a neighborhood it serves far more families and children than some of the other sites closer to downtown Milwaukee.

Long-time Gathering volunteer and Pricing Manager Jennifer Soborowski shared, “This one is so different because there were families. They were all very happy to receive the food and the atmosphere was more like they were stopping in a home to enjoy a meal.” 

“I liked helping in Washington Park in a different way.  It is our Habitat neighborhood and quite honestly for me, it’s become an extension of my community.  I live in a suburb of Milwaukee, I work in West Milwaukee and Silver City and through our volunteer efforts I have a bit of my heart in Washington Park.  I like being part of the positive changes taking place” reflected Cathy Stagmer, Global Community Relations Manager.

This year Joy Global employees broke from tradition in volunteering at all three meal sites rather than just at the downtown Milwaukee site.  For volunteers it has been an eye-opening experience noting how each site serves a different population in the city.  Our commitment to helping others continues with plans to serve again in December.