Every morning, Chris Capper drives his temperamental blue van to the loading docks of grocery stores and the back kitchens of catering companies. “He just showed up one day,” joked Bob Powers, receiving manager at Metcalfe’s Market, 6700 State St. in Wauwatosa.
In reality, Capper has worked hard to create relationships with people who work in the food industry. The chefs and receiving managers all know why he is there, and in fact, they are expecting him. He is coming to pick up carts of food that would otherwise be thrown away. This food eventually feeds 1,700 people a week.
Capper is the founder and CEO of Just One More Ministry, a local nonprofit that collects food from grocery stores, restaurants and caterers and repackages it for food ministries and other hunger relief organizations.
Started in October 2008 with just one box of bread, Just One More Ministry is expanding its operation. The MANDI award finalist already has started moving into its new, larger home at Redeemer Lutheran Church on 20th Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Avenues West. Capper hopes that this larger space will allow the group to serve even more meals to those who need them.
“I hope that by moving into the city, a year from now to do maybe 3,500 meals a week,” Capper said. He also hopes the move will bring Just One More Ministry closer to the people it helps.
There are only two full-time workers at Just One More Ministry. Capper hired employee Joy Craig after she volunteered three days a week for eight months. She personally takes food to seven families in her neighborhood every week. “It’s important because it changes people’s lives,” Craig said.
Just One More ministry also has 125 volunteers who work weekly to prepare meals and package food for food ministries and other distributors to pick up. Most of the volunteers are members of St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Wauwatosa and Milwaukee avenues, where the nonprofit is located.
Volunteer Doris Kluth has been with Just One More ministry since its inception. “We were just a little operation but … we kept finding more food every year,” Kluth said.
And there are a lot of people to help. “There’s roughly 2,000 homeless kids between the ages of 18 and 26,” Capper said. “And unemployment is high. If they do have jobs a lot of them are not high-paying, so they need help with the food. And food is a basic.”
When asked about the future of Just One More Ministry, Capper said, “We hope there is no food thrown away in Milwaukee County, [and] someday we will have nobody in this city that doesn’t have a meal each day.”