City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County’s 12th Annual Holiday Drive Supports Local Veterans

December 19, 2019

MILWAUKEE – The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County’s 12th Annual Holiday Drive concluded on December 13 after three weeks of collection. Donations bins were set up inside City Hall, the Courthouse and other facilities across Milwaukee County.

This year’s Drive spread holiday cheer to veterans receiving care at the Center for Veterans Issues: VETS Place Central. Thousands of household items, games, winter clothing and toiletries were collected from the community. In addition, baked holiday desserts were also donated for the luncheon.

“I am proud to support the Center for Veteran's Issues, and I commend everyone across Milwaukee County who has come together with their neighbors to get involved with the 12th Annual Holiday Drive,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. “We have a responsibility to help our veterans live in a community that is worthy of their sacrifice, and this is a great way to honor them by coming together this holiday season to support those that are less fortunate.”  

The City of Milwaukee surprised the Center for Veterans Issues: VETS Place Central with nearly $9,000 worth of items on the Center’s wish list. These items included: a smart television, Xbox One and PS4 gaming systems, 10 laptops, 500 showers shoes, 20 mattresses, bedding, pillows and gift cards. The Brewer’s Community Foundation provided financial support in supplying these items.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to partner with the largest community-based veteran’s organization in Wisconsin. The Center for Veterans Issues provides the essential wraparound services for our Wisconsin veterans in need in a safe and caring environment,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Thanks to the continued support of the Brewers Foundation, our partnership with Milwaukee County and the generosity of the Milwaukee community, the Holiday Drive continues to be a success year after year.”

In addition, a holiday meal catered by Troop Café was provided. The Café is a non-profit social enterprise of the Center for Veterans Issues. It is dedicated to serving the community by offering affordable, high quality meals to the public while providing food service and hospitality training to U.S. veterans. All profits from the meal will funnel back into Troop Café’s job training program.

Residents of VETS Place Central were joined by representatives from the City, County and Brewers Community Foundation for a lunch consisting of honey glazed ham, candied mashed sweet potatoes, cornbread bake, green beans almondine and pecan pie. Attendees enjoyed carols sung by the Pius XI Catholic High School choir, as well as the holiday cards and decorations created by the boys and girls at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee. The Brewer’s Community Foundation provided financial support in paying for lunch.

“We are tremendously grateful to partner with Mayor Barrett and both the City and County of Milwaukee. This year’s Holiday Drive will help many of the veterans we are currently serving and those we anticipate to serve through the holiday season,” said Eduardo M. Garza, Jr., President and CEO of the Center for Veterans Issues. “We are thankful for the many communities across the great City of Milwaukee and for the collaboration to serve our nation’s heroes.”

Since 2007, the City of Milwaukee 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 the City of Milwaukee to share its gratitude with Wisconsin troops who were far away from their families during the holidays. Within the first several years, more than 2,000 goodie-filled boxes were shipped to Wisconsin troops serving our country overseas in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.



The Center for Veterans Issues (CVI) is Wisconsin’s largest community-based veteran’s organization. The Center’s goal is to end veteran homelessness by assisting individuals who find themselves in need after returning from military duty. CVI achieves its goal by providing holistic services, either directly or through collaboration. These services include: support for veteran families, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, environmental therapy, education, training and employment. CVI believes that improving the quality of life for veterans leads to an improved quality of life for their families. This, in turn, leads to stronger communities, states and our nation as a whole.


VETS Place Central is a 90-bed transitional living facility for homeless veterans. Residents have access to case management, counseling, healthcare and employment services. In addition, they are served three hot meals a day and provided with clothing and transportation. Following six months to a year of care, 70 percent of veterans advance to permanent supportive housing at another location. Success is achieved when a veteran has a source of income, improved physical, mental and spiritual health, as well as a place to call their own.


The following companies and organizations generously donated to the 12th Annual holiday Drive.

The Brewers Community Foundation



$250 in gift cards


$140 in gift cards


$100 in gift cards


$100 in gift cards


$100 in gift cards

Kopp’s Frozen Custard

$100 in gift cards

Dave & Buster’s

$50 in gift cards and 6 unlimited play cards

Wings Over Milwaukee

$50 in gift cards

Buffalo Wild Wings

$20 in gift cards

Home Depot

12 padlocks

Milwaukee County Parks

12 Cool Waters or David F. Schulz Aquatic Center Admission Coupons

Milwaukee Public Museum

15 admission vouchers


14 value baskets

Cousin Subs

8 meals

QDOBA Mexican Eats

10 meals

Anodyne Coffee

10 pounds of ground coffee

Clean Rite Supply

16 hand towels, 2 pairs of gloves, 16 hats, 16 toothbrushes, 18 tubes of toothpaste and 32 bars of soap

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Milwaukee

Handmade holiday cards and decorations

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