Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Feeding America fills pantries for families

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Feeding America is working hard this holiday season to make sure every pantry is full.

El Bethel Church on Milwaukee's north side is a new member in Feeding America's network of food banks.

In this week's Natalie's Everyday Heroes, we meet the pastor there who's getting the food to Milwaukee's hungry families.

"Alright, are we making people happy?" Pastor Steven Tipton asked volunteers standing at the ready to pass out boxes of food.

Tipton didn't let the weather keep him from spreading holiday cheer.

"Well, you see how windy it is! And it's very cold! However, we don't mind doing this, we've done it in weather like this before," he said with a laugh.

This is a holiday box giveaway in the church parking lot.

"Ham! He needs a ham," a volunteer called out as a car pulled up.

As the pastor at Milwaukee's El Bethel church, he knows a few hours of standing in the cold will mean full bellies for hundreds of people in the city.

"Sometimes peoples' check doesn't stretch that far, and they have to make sacrifices. We want to fill in those gaps," Tipton explained.

Cars lined up to get all of the essentials to make their holiday meals and more, including ham, turkey, eggs, milk.

Brandice Kirchner is a member services representative with Feeding America. She said events like this help, because there aren't many nearby options for fresh food, and people are appreciative.

"They're super happy, and they don't even have to get out of their car in this freezing weather today. They can just sit in the comfort of their car and get a really nice meal," Kirchner said.

Maurice Allen is an associate elder at the church and president of the Street Warriors.

He says they prepared for 350 families.

"At the start, there were at least maybe 100 cars that came through. We expect to give all of this away today with no problem at all," Allen said.

Allen said inflation and the pandemic have hit people hard.

"The prices of everything in the grocery stores are much higher and it's hard to really get what you need these days," he said.

And that's where Feeding America comes in.

"We thank God for them," Pastor Tipton said.

Tipton said at the end of the food drive, they were able to give away more than 16-thousand pounds of food.

"It's just a wonderful partnership, and it shows when we work together, great things can happen," Tipton said.

CBS 58 is teaming up with Feeding America's "Food for the Holiday" campaign.

We will be raising donations on Dec. 30.

You can find out more about Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin at www.feedingamericanwi.org.

If you'd like to nominate an Everyday Hero, send Natalie a message at NShepherd@cbs58.com.

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