By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jul 16, 2018 at 3:01 PM

Thursday, July 26 would be a great night to grab an appetizer, dinner or even dessert at Amilinda, 315 E Wisconsin Ave.

That’s because, all night long, the restaurant will be will be donating 20 percent from each bill to Courage MKE to combat the effects of homelessness among Milwaukee’s LGBTQ youth.

"When I came out 26 years years ago, I was very lucky," says Chef Gregory Leon. "My family has always been very accepting of me. I’d like to think that things have changed in this country and that everyone’s experience is the same, but I know that not everyone is that lucky. Courage MKE is doing great things, and we felt really compelled to support them and really help to move their mission forward."

What’s at stake

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported the existence of at least 40,799 unaccompanied homeless youth in the U.S. 

Sadly, it’s a number many organizations believe is being under-reported. It’s also a number that includes a stunning number of youth who identify as LGBTQ+.

Here in Milwaukee, its estimated that there are at least 500 LGBTQ+ youth without homes. Of those, 40 percent identify as LGBTQ+ and approximately 26 percent are homeless because their families have chosen not to support them, based on who they are.

Fortunately, there are organizations like Courage MKE, which addresses the very real needs of homeless LGBTQ youth in our community. The organization is currently working to establish Courage House, a safe haven for LGBTQ youth that provides counseling, health care, and other much-needed assistance. 

The non-profit organization was founded by Brad and Nick Schlaikowski, Milwaukee area foster parents who experienced firsthand the stories of LGBTQ+ youth who had been kicked out of their homes, rejected by traditional shelters or otherwise discriminated against. In addition to working toward the establishment of Courage House, the organization also promotes awareness through community outreach, education, and basic day-to-day necessities for students in MPS and area shelters.

Want to help?

All you have to do is eat. Amilinda will donate 20 percent of your bill to Courage MKE. However, Amilinda is a small restaurant, so you should definitely make reservations. You can do so online at

Participants also will be eligible for door prizes, including gift cards and items donated by area businesses and individuals including Bounce Milwaukee, Driftless Cafe, Goodkind, Kickapoo Valley Ranch, Daryl and Laura Nitsch and Vita.

For more information about Courage MKE, or to find out how to support them directly visit

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.