Recognizing the selfless and resilient spirit of our communities
Over the last few weeks and months, people across our city—and the world—have been facing the unprecedented challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are tough and uncertain times, but they continue to reveal the hardworking and selfless character of our city and state—values we’ll be looking to highlight later this summer when we host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. In fact, in early April—which is recognized as National Volunteer Month—the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee put out a call for nominations in search of volunteers who are giving back to the community during this challenging period. All of us at the Host Committee were inspired by the responses and the stories that we heard back. From translating important health information into Spanish, to helping run community food banks in underserved areas, Wisconsinites have stepped up to make an impact when and where it's needed most.
"In the face of adversity, Wisconsinites continue to inspire me with their selfless, strong, and resilient spirit. Volunteerism is at the heart of who we are as a community, and I couldn’t be more proud to see our diverse neighbors lend a hand during these trying times."
—Representative Gwen Moore,
Co-Chair of the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee
Learn more about how your friends and neighbors are giving back:
After seeing how the pandemic was impacting his community, Erick Ledesma's (featured in the top left photo below) volunteer work grew quickly. He joined forces with several friends to create a drive-up food bank at St. Patrick’s Church and a delivery service to help further distribute groceries on Milwaukee's South Side. Erick and his friends have also been translating and sharing information about the coronavirus on social media to provide Milwaukee's Spanish-speaking communities with the facts and resources they need to stay healthy.
The coronavirus has created confusion and fear among all of us, including our children. To help offset kids’ fears and build their confidence, Jean Davidson (top right photo) is offering a free learning module that helps families home-school the Yell and Tell safety program. The program, which can be found at yellandtell.com or wherever you download apps, is teaching young children what they should do when they find themselves in dangerous situations.
Just a few hours north of Milwaukee, Cindy Carter of Appleton is busy ensuring those with limited resources in her community have food on the table. In addition to driving residents at a nearby affordable housing complex to the grocery store, Cindy has been picking up groceries for a handful of her neighbors from a local food bank. One night a week, Cindy also volunteers her time at the Pillars shelter in her community to serve dinner to homeless residents.
In March, The Tandem, a local restaurant serving up 'down-to-earth food' in Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights neighborhood, suspended its carryout and delivery services and took swift action to help those struggling due to the pandemic. Led by Chef Caitlin Cullen (featured bottom left), the team at the Tandem (bottom right) has been giving away free meals to the community for over a month now—donating upwards of 350 meals a day.
Erick, Jean, Cindy, and the staff at the Tandem have inspired us through their volunteerism, proving that, despite maintaining a social separation, it’s more important than ever to be connected and work together to make a difference.
And they aren't alone. To all of the volunteers who are working hard to #MKEanImpact during this pandemic and beyond, thank you for your dedication and your service. Our communities are stronger and brighter places thanks to your affinity for giving back.