The co-founder of We Care Meals has announced that the program that serves holiday meals to the Fox Cities community has not received enough donations to put together thousands of meals for Easter this year.
(We Care Meals donations go through Goodwill. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 920-968-6814 to donate.)
We Care Meals is a program in Appleton that serves and delivers meals to anyone who wants one during Christmas and Easter.
The program also offers companionship for those who may be lonely around the holidays, where anyone can sit down at a table with other community members, or have food delivered to their home and request that a volunteer eat with them.
Ed Rathsack and his brother started We Care Meals about thirty years ago.
“Our mission goal is to provide food for the body, but also nourish the soul,“ Ed Rathsack said. “We open it to anybody and everybody. We don’t care how rich, how poor, whatever you are. We just offer a meal and companionship.“
Ed Rathsack said the upcoming We Care Meals Easter feast is cancelled for now, because there aren’t enough donations to sustain it.
Each holiday event costs about $4,000 in food for the thousands of meals served in the buffet and delivered to homes.
“We’ve done I’d say close to 30 Easters, close to 32 or more Christmases…we never missed a meal,“ Rathsack said. “Twice we came close, once I’ve actually written a letter saying we were canceling, and it was picked up by good people. People said…we want to see it continue. There are a lot of good people.“
Rathsack is newly retired after working at Kimberly-Clark for 42 years, where he often worked overtime to fund We Care Meals.
He’s even taken out loans for the program.
“We’ve taken out loans twice, my wife has given up several of our vacation money,“ Rathsack explained. “We don’t really consider it a hardship because we think we’re doing something good.“
This year, going off donations hasn’t been enough.
“I think what happens is because we only do it twice a year, people forget about us,“ he said.
Rathsack said if he can collect enough donations by the end of the week, he will be able to rally up volunteers, purchase food, and organize the dinner.
Some of the food is also donated to his program, and the venue rental is free.
“To give back to your community is part of being something, it means you got a home, you got something, you’re somewhere, and that drives me,“ Rathsack said.