Since 2007, Mayor Tom Barrett has held an annual Holiday Drive for servicemen and women. City of Milwaukee employees, community partners, businesses and residents have risen to the challenge and collected thousands of toiletries, snacks, goodies and more to help bring a little holiday cheer to those who have sacrificed for our country.
The drive began as a way for Mayor Barrett and the City of Milwaukee to share their gratitude with Wisconsin troops who were far away from their homes during the holidays. More than 2,000 goodie-filled boxes were shipped to Wisconsin troops serving our country overseas in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
In 2013, the Holiday Drive took on a new beneficiary: our veterans. With more and more troops returning home from overseas service every month, Mayor Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele formed a partnership to bring awareness to and address the struggles of veterans who face homelessness or difficulties with stable housing. In partnering with County Executive Abele, the Holiday Drive went county-wide, and with the help of the community, 500 complete home starter kits were created for the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative, enough to support hundreds of veterans and their families in the greater Milwaukee area.
Many community businesses and organizations support this effort annually, including the Brewers Community Foundation, Lamar Outdoor Advertising Milwaukee and Walgreens.