Free Easter meal in Appleton a success thanks to community

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -- Just three weeks ago, funding for a free Easter meal in Appleton was non-existent; but after word got out, the community stepped in and saved a 30-year holiday tradition.

Volunteers help serve free community meal.

Donations starting pouring in to make sure anyone who wanted a hot meal on Easter, had one.

“It's good to see the energy. We've been at it for a long, long time, and we do get a little burnt; but there's so many new people jumping in to help, it's just awesome,” said Ed Rathsack, organizer of “We Care Meals.”

Volunteers were prepared to serve up 2,500 meals at the Capitol Centre.

“I rode my bike all the way over by Lake Winnebago, down by Waverly beach, I rode my bike all the way from there to here and I'm 67 and half years old,” said Gary Gartmann of Menasha. He’s been coming to the dinner for at least ten years.

Volunteers also delivered about 300 meals.

“Our goal is to feed the body, nourish the soul,” said Rathsack.

“I met so many friends here, sitting next to these people and sitting next to another couple and we all said hello. It was just wonderful,” said Mary Jane West of Appleton. It was her first time at the dinner.

New this year, a donor stepped in to make Easter special for the kids by making 200 Easter baskets.

As for “We Care Meals” Christmas dinner, Rathsack says he’s already got people lined up to help.