Community Partnership

By Nicole Chick, Partnership Coordinator

In a city that is ranked the most segregated city in the US there is a level of desperation for unity. In the city of Milwaukee it is the community partnerships that truly combat the division that defines the city racially, economically, and spiritually. It is when organizations, ministries, schools, churches, families, and individuals come together with a common vision and goal and utilize each others strengths, gifts, and resources that change begins to happen.

This summer, throughout the city of Milwaukee we began to see what unified efforts can do to meet both the practical needs and spiritual needs of those who live in neighborhoods that often feel forgotten, rejected, and separated. This summer we embarked on a new partnership with the Salvation Army and specifically with a program called Feed the Kids.

The Salvation Army partners with Hunger Task Force to put together thousands of lunches, Monday through Friday throughout the summer months, to distribute to about fifteen different neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are carefully selected by Hunger Task Force to address the practical needs of the children who may not get a lunch that day otherwise. The Salvation Army volunteers assemble the lunches and distribute the lunches to the neighborhoods. After bellies are filled, a Salvation Army outreach crew will visit the neighborhoods and help lead various Bible clubs where the children can play games, make crafts, and hear about the love of Jesus.

About ten Next Step volunteers a week had the opportunity to partner with the Salvation Army by simultaneously working as Salvation Army volunteers sporting the infamous red vests. These volunteers worked alongside other volunteers from the community to assemble the Feed the Kids lunches as well as helping create and lead Bible clubs at three different neighborhoods each week.

This partnership was a beautiful example of what unity can do to make a positive impact in the community. Through the food resources from Hunger Task Force, through Salvation Army staff, Ms. Debbie’s leadership and resources for Bible clubs, and through the Next Step volunteers, the impact exceeded expectations. Over 29,400 lunches were made throughout the seven weeks of partnership this summer, over 100 children attended Bible club activities at three to four different neighborhoods, 436 popsicles were consumed, hundreds of prizes, cross necklaces, and Bibles were distributed to children and families, and over 800 minutes of Bible club sessions were lead by Next Step outreach crews.

The beauty of partnership is that the impact does not end when a Next Step summer ends. The Salvation Army continues to partner with other ministries and individuals such as Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) so they can continue leading Bible clubs and serving lunches throughout the month of August. The impact continues!

There is hope in unity, there is impact through partnership, and revival is taking place in Milwaukee. Thank you to the many Next Step volunteers who joined in this partnership and wholeheartedly served the children of Milwaukee.

Next Step Ministries