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Madison volunteers use locally sourced food to feed people experiencing homelessness

Liliana’s and Little John’s restaurants team up with Feeding the Youth to prepare and deliver hundreds of meals.
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 8:38 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:57 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - While many Americans spent this Thanksgiving in their homes surrounded by family and good food, more than 550,000 people in the country don’t even have a place to call home, people experiencing homelessness. A group of dozens of volunteers in Madison worked weeks on end to make sure some of the most vulnerable members of our community have a warm, gourmet, locally sourced meal to enjoy.

Around Thanksgiving, there’s no such thing as too many cooks in Chef Dave Heide’s kitchen at Liliana’s and Little John’s restaurants. It’s only the finest, locally sourced ingredients, hand selected and packed with care that will be delivered to hungry customers free of charge.

“Reindhal Park, the three different hotels housing people experiencing homelessness, the evening meals on wheels program, so yeah, a lot of food going out,” says Chef Heide.

Back in 2020, the US Government estimated there were more than 4,500 people experiencing homelessness in Wisconsin. Of that, 558 were family households, 337 were veterans and 193 were young adults. The city of Madison recently added more temporary housing options for the homeless, opening up hotels and a new site with individual units.

“People living in tents, tiny home villages, people in homes who are food insecure, there are a wide variety of people. They all need help and they all need food,” says Jazzman Brown, the founder of Feeding the Youth in Madison.

No matter who you are, where or what you call home, this army of volunteers is making sure people in need in the Madison area get to indulge in the holidays, too.

“My whole mission at Little John’s is to say food is our expression of love. Why can’t we give the same food made with love to someone experiencing homelessness as someone living in Seminole Hills?” says Chef Heide.

“For those people who wake up and expect that five course meal and 20 family members sitting around the table, not everybody has that. To give them that little bit of hope or that sunshine on a cloudy day is awesome,” says Brown.

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