MILWAUKEE -- Like a lot of families, the Gaffigans come to Wisconsin over the holidays to spend time with loved ones. But unlike most families, the patriarch just happens to be a famous comedian.
“I consider Milwaukee my hometown-in-law," said Jim Gaffigan, whose wife is from the city. “I spend more time in Milwaukee than I do in Indiana, which is where I’m from, [because] there’s more cheese here.”
For 10 straight years, Jim Gaffigan has helped ring in the New Year by performing at the Pabst Theater. His four shows this week are sold out.
Much of his standup routine centers on food -- notably Hot Pockets. And food is also what his family focuses on when it comes to volunteering.
“I don’t want this to be like, ‘And here’s a Hollywood guy trying to be nice,'" Gaffigan said in one of the many voices in his arsenal.
Instead it’s personal.
Gaffigan's wife, Jeannie, grew up in Milwaukee, and her brother, Vincent Noth, is the director of the Riverwest Food Pantry.
“Especially at Christmas, when it becomes all about, ‘What am I going to get? What am I going to get?’ It’s so important for children to understand that not everybody lives like this," Jeannie said.
"It’s like an antidepressant. Afterwards you’re like, ‘Well, I’m not a monster if I helped out at a food pantry,'" Jim Gaffigan said.
The Riverwest Food Pantry serves about 240,000 pounds of food to around 12,000 people every year. Cooking lessons, counseling and other programs help make it more than just a distribution site.
“Food pantries are strategically placed in the most needy areas of our city. What if those were places of transformation? Instead of just, ‘Here’s food, we’ll see you next month,'" Noth said.
All of the proceeds, estimated to be around $70,000 from Gaffigan's 10:00 p.m. show on December 30th will go towards the Riverwest Food Pantry. But they’re asking for the public’s help as well.
When you text BACON to 91999, you will receive information on how to support the Riverwest Food Pantry's efforts.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Riverwest Food Pantry.