MILWAUKEE -- For the past month, Tandem has been cooking free meals for any Milwaukeean in need. And there's no plan to stop anytime soon. Brian Kramp spent the morning with the woman who created this inspirational movement.
About Tandem meals (website)
When we decided to serve free meals to our community when this crisis first struck Milwaukee, we didn’t do it for attention; we did it because we were called to action. As wage workers ourselves – with little safety net, even less in savings, and few (if any) groceries at the crib cause we are always working and didn’t have time to stock up before shit got real – we knew we had to do something to help make sure our community got fed.
On Wednesday 18 March, we opened at 11am with 85 free meals… by 2pm they were all gone. That Thursday, we opened at 11am with nearly 150 meals… by 1pmthey were all gone. On Friday, we opened at 11am and by 3pm, 200 meals had walked out the door… and the demand shows no sign of slowing up, particularly as Milwaukee’s central city – our friends and neighbors – are now the nucleus of Wisconsin’s infected population. What’s more, while a lot of the people we have been feeding have been a constituency that often rely on free assistance to feed themselves, we are seeing more and more patrons who are not the traditional food bank clientele – wage workers who have been laid off, service industry folks with no job to go to and not enough in the bank to eat at home much longer, and neighbors who are delivering meals to community members and families who are quarantined without supplies. We anticipate the need will only grow larger with every passing day of this crisis.
In times like these, when the target is constantly moving and all we can do is make the best informed decisions, we had to pivot from our original plan of serving paying customers curb-side and via delivery. We don’t know how long this crisis will last, but we plan on cooking free meals for any Milwaukeean in need until we run out of food, run out of money, or are told to go home. In an effort to keep the movement alive, we have been redistributing some of our donations to area restaurants to help fill our coolers and freezers with plenty of nourishing meals for the months ahead, while helping them pay the few folks they are able to maintain on their payroll. We have already been working with Strange Town, Goodkind, Three Brothers, The National Cafe, Bavette, DanDan, The Laughing Taco, Club Charlie’s, Emerald City Catering, and the Focused Fork to supplement our supply of meals, and hope to spread the love as much as we can, thanks to your generous donation.
Thank you for putting your money where your mouth is, it will not be forgotten. We will see you on the other side.