Milwaukee shelter in need of emergency food

After experiencing a decline in donations as the holidays fade into the New Year, the Guest House of Milwaukee has exhausted almost all its food resources and is in need of emergency donations.

According to Erik Koepnick, manager of volunteer services and communications for the Guest House, the nonprofit organization does not have any food to feed its residents over the next three nights.

The Guest House currently houses 86 men full time. The shelter will begin overflow tomorrow as 15 additional men move in.

“That’s a lot of mouths to feed,” Koepnick said.

Throughout the year, the Guest House relies on the generosity of families, neighborhood groups, faith communities, restaurants, organizations like the Salvation Army and other volunteers to provide meals to its residents each evening.

St. Ben’s Community Meal Program, held at St. Benedict the Moor in Milwaukee, also often feeds residents of the Guest House.

But during frigid weather, the shelter prefers to host meals in-house, according to Koepnick.

During the holidays, the Guest House typically receives an influx of food and monetary donations, followed by a significant drop-off largely due to donor fatigue, Koepnick said.

“I think part of it is that the community has given a lot throughout the holidays, and so there’s kind of that giving fatigue,” Koepnick said. “People have given what they have.”

Though it’s unusual for the Guest House to experience three nights in a row of food shortage, he said.

The nonprofit is now turning to the community for immediate help.

Ideally, the Guest House needs individuals and businesses to provide a meal, such as sandwiches, for all 101 of its homeless men, Koepnick said. Interested donors can call the shelter at 414-345-3240 and talk to anyone in the front office about coordinating their meal donations.

Monetary donations can be submitted to

Additional food donations can be dropped off anytime at the shelter, located at 1216 N. 13th St. in Milwaukee.

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