Marquette Wire

Project Homeless Connect provides Milwaukee community with basic needs

Wire+stock+photo.+Marquette+MARDI+GRAS+students+visiting+with+two+homeowners+in+the+Lower+Ninth+Ward.+Photo+via+Madison+Marx.
Wire stock photo. Marquette MARDI GRAS students visiting with two homeowners in the Lower Ninth Ward. Photo via Madison Marx.

Wire stock photo. Marquette MARDI GRAS students visiting with two homeowners in the Lower Ninth Ward. Photo via Madison Marx.

Wire stock photo. Marquette MARDI GRAS students visiting with two homeowners in the Lower Ninth Ward. Photo via Madison Marx.

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Marquette hosted Project Homeless Connect Oct. 19, an event dedicated to helping those living in poverty in the Milwaukee community.

PHC is an event Marquette hosts once a year, where the Alumni Memorial Union transforms into a one stop shop for those living in poverty in Milwaukee to receive services such as dental exams, flu shots, legal advice and housing consultations. Volunteers also provide individuals with supplies like sleeping bags, hygiene products and bus passes.

Marquette’s MARDI GRAS took part in the event for its fourth year in a row.

MARDI GRAS (Making A Real Difference in the Gulf Region and Areas Surrounding) is a disaster relief service organization. The group dedicates one of their yearly trips to staying at home and helping in their own backyard.

Maggie McDonald, a senior in the College of Business Administration and community outreach coordinator for MARDI GRAS, organized the event with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, a nonprofit that works to better the community.

“It impacts Milwaukee and Marquette by allowing us to open our campus to people affected by poverty and invite people into our school, as well as gaining a better understand the issues going on in our neighborhood,” McDonald said.

University President Michael Lovell kicked off the event by speaking to all guests and volunteers.

“One of the things I’m really proud of today is the fact that many of the (volunteers) are students, and our students happen to be on fall break,” Lovell said. “Instead of going home they are choosing to spend their time here helping the community.”

More than 300 guests were helped by volunteers, 70 of which were students who participate in MARDI GRAS.

PHC is open to all community members, whether as a volunteer or a guest.

“For one day at Marquette, the walls of the city were broken down, and everybody was welcomed,” Danny Steeno, president of MARDI GRAS and junior in the College of Health Sciences, said.  “A lot of people being served at PHC are more comfortable opening up the younger generation, because they feel that their struggle can relate more closely to the struggle of a college student.”

McDonald said that PHC is different than a lot of what MARDI GRAS does when they go off campus. “MARDI GRAS is known for being a disaster relief organization …  but it is a very important MG trip because it hits home a lot more than the place we travel to.”

On Nov. 4, a group of MARDI GRAS students will be taking part in an event called Block Build Day that helps construct several homes throughout the city.

“Whether in Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York or Detroit, MG looks to rebuild communities and to heal hearts,” Steeno said. “Too many people just like to watch from the sidelines and complain about how much the world needs to change.”

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