As many household cooks prepare a holiday meal, a group of volunteers in Milwaukee is getting ready to feed a Christmas Day lunch to 10-thousand mainly low-income people. In the kitchen at Milwaukee's convention center this afternoon, Gus Kelly was showing a co-worker how to make bread crumbs with a large commercial mixer. The emphasis is on large, because Kelly and his team of dozens of volunteers are getting ready for the 23rd annual, free-to-the public lunch organized by the Salvation Army and a commercial radio station. seven-thousand people are expected, with another 3000 meals going out to homeless shelters. Kelly has been lead chef of the event for five years, since retiring from the Milwaukee Area Technical College. He says he's used to feeding a large crowd.
"I was an Army mess sergeant," he says. "You just need to get our numbers together."
Kelly says he doesn't mind that the Christmas Day lunch has gotten bigger, and doesn't comment about what that says about poverty in Milwaukee. Kelly just says he wants to give something back to his community.
"I worked for Brown Deer Public Schools, UW-Stout, MATC," he says. "I had a hand from a lot of people. You've gotta give back."
Kelly says he's not sure when he'll have his holiday dinner. He says after being around so much food for the last week or so, and during his lifetime, he doesn't eat very much.