Milwaukee man finds way to keep good food from going to waste and feed Milwaukee’s hungry
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Every day in our community there are hundreds of people going hungry. At the same time, research shows about 40% of food in the United States is wasted. That disconnect sparked an idea in Chris Capper’s mind. He launched an organization called Just One More Ministry. He and his staff now rescue food from restaurants, caterers and stores, and give it to those in need.
Recently, at the ministry’s new location in Glendale, employees and volunteers were busy building what they call “family meals.” These meals included greens beans, meatloaf and potatoes.
“Our niche is prepared food,” explained Capper. “So we pick up from caterers, restaurants, and corporations that have lunch rooms.”
Capper came up with the idea to feed Milwaukee’s hungry and keep good food from going to waste.
“We pick up from Fiserv. State Fair we pick up from, and Johnsonville sausage we pick up from,” he said, just to name a few organizations he works with.
Capper started all of this ten years ago with just one box of donated bread. It’s now spread across a 24,000 square foot warehouse.
“So this was going to be the room that we didn't use for three years. We've been here six months,” Capper said with a laugh, showing an entire room being filled with bottled water.
His pride is clear, and with good reason. The ministry helped him turn his life around.
“I've been incarcerated four different times, twice in the lovely house of corrections,” Capper said.
After years of drinking and doing drugs, he got sober. Capper also hires people to work at Just One More Ministry who’ve also faced challenges in their lives. He said he understands the need for second chances.
“Second, third, fourth and fifth chances, yeah,” he said. “Because I've gotten many of them. Most of the people we hire, and some work out and some don't, the board agrees with me that this is who we're going to hire.”
Pierre Young knows what it’s like. He’s been working for Capper for years.
“This ministry has been here for me through my drug addiction, through me being homeless, you name it,” Young said.
Capper understands people struggle, but he believes they should never go hungry.
“We throw enough food away in this country to feed 500,000 people three meals a day for a year-- in one day,” he said.
Because the ministry relies on donations, he’s never sure what they’ll get.
“Grebe’s Bakery is a huge donor to us,” he said, motioning to palates of baked goods.
The day after Fat Tuesday, the bakery donated boxes and boxes of paczki.
“I just don't say no,” he said. “So, if someone wants to -- you saw the packzi in the back, come and get all of these, ok!”
With a warehouse stocked with supplies, Capper also decided to take food out into the community, too. Twice a week, he and his employees and volunteers pack up bags with all kinds of supplies.
“It's just meant to be a supplement, in case they're running out,” Capper said. “And then they get a package of the meat.”
When Just One More Ministry does this community outreach, dozens of people line up to meet them.
“It just shows us how hungry some of these folks are” Capper said. “They don't know who we are, or what they're going to get, but there's free food. Come.”
Young has seen it time and again.
“When we pull up in the van, people are standing out in the cold, waiting,” he said.
Capper is happy to feed every hungry person he can, but he dreams that one day, his services are no longer needed.
“The goal is to keep it empty,” he said of the huge refrigerators stocked with food. “The goal is to keep it empty. We'd really like to be out of business, but I don't think that's going to happen soon.”
Just One More Ministry feeds 1,600 people a week through meal deliveries. All of the ministry's combined reach 10,000 people a week.
Capper said they’re always looking for new organizations to partner with. For more information on how you can help, visit www.jomministry.org.