By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Mar 15, 2021 at 1:21 PM Photography: travisty

Chef Travis Cook, owner of Travisty, a pop-up restaurant and catering service, has launched a  campaign to give back to the March of Dimes, an organization which, for 80 years, has fought for the health of mothers and their babies, including those admitted to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU), 

Through March 30, individuals can support the cause by making a donation of $10 or more at travistymke.com.  Participants will be eligible for a variety of prizes,  including a private dinner experience for four. All funds raised will support the work of March of Dimes Milwaukee.

Cook, who first got involved with the March of Dimes through their 2019 Signature Chefs event, says his involvement in the organization was a personal one.

“The importance of the March of Dimes here in the Metro Milwaukee area extends to every aspect of the family core,” says Cook, who was recently announced as the March of Dimes Milwaukee Signature Chefs Culinary Chair. “My niece, Natalee, was born two months prematurely and had to spend weeks in the NICU, while her parents anxiously awaited to take her home. She is now 18 years old, applying to medical schools and thriving in life. 

“It’s a huge inspiration and motivation to show up and never miss out on everyday miracles. It’s something bigger than me. If we are able to provide that opportunity through food and memories, we will get one step closer to sending all babies home healthy.”

Ultimately, Cook says, the effort is about supporting an effort that's larger than himself.

"Ultimately, I want to do something bigger to help the Milwaukee community," he says. "I want to use my voice for something bigger, do more than just cooking for people."

Show your support

Donations for the March promotion benefiting the March of Dimes Milwaukee can be made online at travistymke.com.

For every $10 donated, guests will receive one entry into a Travisty drawing, with prizes worth up to $1000. One selected participant will receive a private dinner experience from Travisty for four guests, to be hosted in your home and coordinated for a future date in April.  A second pick will receive a gift card to Cubanitas and a third participant will receive a coffee box set from Coffee Wizardz. The three selected participants will be notified by email March 31 and have 24 hours to respond before a new selection is made.

March of Dimes NICU Family Support Network

One out of every ten babies born in the U.S. is admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

(NICU) because of premature birth or another medical condition. In Milwaukee alone, one out of eight children are born premature. For parents with a baby in a NICU, the experience can be frightening, confusing and overwhelming. To assist, the March of Dimes, in partnership with Children’s Wisconsin, created the NICU Family Support® network. 

In 2020 alone, the March of Dimes reached over 50 thousand families nationally through their NICU initiatives, including the NICU Family Support® program and the My NICU Baby® App.

In response to COVID-19, the organization launched the NICU Online Education Series, using HIPAA compliant Zoom accounts to support all families and answer questions with NICU clinical staff. All of these initiatives were made possible by local fundraising efforts. For more information, visit marchofdimes.org

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.