By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Apr 11, 2020 at 4:06 PM

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The Milwaukee Independent Restaurant Coalition (MIRC) has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $50,000 in funds for a restaurant-run "Soup Kitchen" on the South Side of Milwaukee.

The soup kitchen would take inspiration from the work begun by The Tandem, 1848 W. Fond Du Lac Ave., a restaurant which has been operating as a soup kitchen for families and industry employees in need throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  You can support the work of The Tandem by donating to them at tandemmke.com.

[You can donate to the new MIRC Soup Kitchen fund here]

Letter from MIRC

The following is excerpted from a letter sent out by founding MIRC members Daniel Jacobs, John Revord, Pam Ronnei and Jordan Burich.

As you may already know, the hospitality community in our city has been hit incredibly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community of restaurant and bar owners know firsthand the precarious nature of our day-to-day business, but we see now—through the lens of this epidemic—that the restaurant and bar community in Milwaukee is struggling to survive.

The primary goal of MIRC is to effectively find ways to exercise legislative change to help us, our employees, and our communities through these trying times. We have applied for 501-C3 status and look forward to making impactful change in Milwaukee’s hospitality sector during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Hunger relief

For a few weeks now, The Tandem (1848 E. Fond du Lac Ave.) has been making ready-to-eat food for a community in desperate need of daily meal assistance. And they are seeing staggeringly high numbers of guests who are not the traditional food bank clientele; (i.e. wage workers who have been laid off, recently furloughed service industry professionals, and neighbors who are delivering meals to community members and families who are quarantined without supplies).

That need will only grow larger with every passing day of this crisis.

Chef Caitlin Cullen opens The Tandem at 11 a.m. each day for service and runs out before 2 or 2:30 p.m. Her restaurant is becoming too crowded to serve as a hub for the whole city, and the demand has been so high that Chef Cullen has started asking local restaurants to cook meals as well—compensating them $5.00 per meal.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that there are many people in the service  industry and in our communities that have become food insecure seemingly overnight and we are banding together to stave off hunger, and MIRC needs your help.

Immediate goals of the program

  • MIRC aims to launch a site to prepare meals for pick-up on the south side of the city.
  • MIRC wants to be able to offer our restaurant partners discounted products to use for the meals.
  • To do so, MIRC desperately needs to raise $50,000.00. This will allow for 200 meals a day from April 20 to June 20, 2020. 

Not only will this this get food to people who need it, but it adds a revenue stream to restaurants that desperately need one.

To donate, visit MIRC Fundraiser for Soup Kitchen.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.