Fishermen can now donate fresh fish to Milwaukee’s food pantries: “It makes you feel good”

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MILWAUKEE -- As the saying goes, if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. And if you give a fisherman a freezer, you can feed an entire city.

“There’s a lot of ways we can help people," Delafield resident Jim Hainey said. "And we got to work together.”

There’s a new appliance at Milwaukee's McKinley Marina. It's a freezer, paid for by Hainey, that allows fellow members of the Great Lakes Sports Fishermen to donate excess fish after a day on Lake Michigan. The Hunger Task Force then distributes that lean protein to local food pantries.

Fresh fish donated to Hunger Task Force

Fresh fish donated to Hunger Task Force

“Having fresh fish donated makes a big difference in how people get fed," Sherrie Tussler, director of the Hunger Task Force said. "And the kinds of foods that they’re able to eat for dinner each night.”

"It’s not only easy, it makes you feel good," Bob Wincek, president of the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen said. "Because you’re actually doing something that’s for the community.”

Sherrie Tussler

Sherrie Tussler

The fishermen can come right off the lake, clean their catch at a station by the docks and then place whatever fish they don’t want to keep in the freezer. A number to call or text is printed on top, and the Hunger Task Force will come and pick up the fish. It’s a simple process that goes a long way towards feeding Milwaukee families.”

“Sitting down to dinner and having a salmon filet makes a big difference in someone’s life," Tussler said. "Think about canned beef stew from the government versus a salmon filet for dinner, and then you get it.”

Hainey got the idea after a trip to Port Washington. A freezer was in use there to benefit area veterans.

"I said, 'you know, that’s a pretty fantastic idea,'" Hainey said. "We should do that in Milwaukee."

The Great Lakes Sport Fishermen already worked with the Hunger Task Force at their annual Brew City Tournament. They’ve donated almost 3,000 pounds of fish over the last three years. But instead of a one day event, the freezer will allow them to donate for most of the year.

Fresh fish donated to Hunger Task Force

Fresh fish donated to Hunger Task Force

“We’re hoping that maybe the freezer might be too small," Wincek said. "We might need a bigger one, or a new one.”

After all, it’s an idea they expect will catch on.

The freezer is located at the McKinley Marina Dock.