About us

Our Mission

Friedens is a network of food pantries in Milwaukee nourishing the body, mind, and soul. We believe that a dependable supply of food is a means of bringing hope and dignity to our community.

Our Story

At Friedens, we bring together a team of people who donate food, finances, time, tears, and talent to help us make sure that people can access the food they desperately need. At the base of the community, we know that without food in ones cupboards, one cannot have a real sense of peace. Our food pantry network is the base of what we do: Our foundation.

A picture of Friedens United Church of Christ

Meet Our Staff

Sophia Torrijos

Executive Director

“Food is much more than a basic physical need, it binds us together as a human family. We laugh, cry, and build community around the table. To live a full life we need our hearts nourished as well as our bodies.”

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Aleka shewczyk

Operations Manager

“I believe every single person deserves access to healthy foods. This is where nourishment begins, but it extends far beyond the limited context of diet. Nourishment includes anything we consume into our bodies, minds and souls. It affects our physical and mental health and subsequent happiness. My work at Friedens is dedicated to nourishing Milwaukee’s at-risk community, and through this work I am also nourished.”

Cheryl Ousley

Site Manager (Coggs & Hope House)

“Peace is being in a place where I am able to help others meet their needs and develop relationships with the communities we serve. Nourishment is being fulfilled in every aspect of life, starting with feeding the body…I love being able to work with and around people who are like family, who have the same heart to serve others as I do.”

Max Ramsey

Site Manager (Despensa de la Paz)

“What we can control is how we value one another, and care for one another’s concerns. We can control our attitude and our behavior. So much beyond that is beyond our control right now. Today, we can love one another, and put the needs of others before our own. This is our community. This is our way.”

Cynthia Wilson

Site Manager (Zion Rock)

” I love being a volunteer. I feel joyful, knowing that we are helping to feed children and adults who need food. We treat each patron with dignity and respect. We laugh, share stories, share recipes, and sometimes share a tear or two with someone who is really going through hard times.”

Katrina Ramsey

Outreach Manager

“Nourishment can have multiple meanings. It may be on the surface the substance of food, but to me it goes much deeper. It is the substance of things we cannot see nor touch. It is the revitalization of hope and listening to someone who needs to be heard.”

Aubrey Fochs

Volunteer Coordinator

“Good food for all people means keeping in mind people’s cultural and diverse backgrounds to provide meaningful and nourishing food to all peoples. Keeping in mind people’s personal, religious, and cultural preferences all impact what it means to provide someone with good food.”

Valerie MacMillan

Food Center Coordinator

“Peace is a safe space in which people are free to be themselves within a community that promotes dignity and mutual respect. And nourishment is so much more than a full belly. Nourishment has the potential to provide a pathway to growth and opportunity. A meal shared with people we love is one of the greatest gifts in life… Good food feeds conversations and grows relationships.”

Nina Gaulin

Home Delivery Coordinator

Nourishment goes beyond the food we provide for our community. Folks may come to Friedens for food, but many come for so much more: love, patience, and above all, respect. It is the understanding that those receiving and those giving are no different, that we as a community can nourish one another through a collective effort to simply do better, for ourselves and for each other.

Connor Carnyski

Volunteer Manager

In many ways peace is something I find in the kitchen. I find comfort in memories of time spent in my mother’s kitchen, a.k.a. Paula’s Cafe, I find joy in working with my hands to craft a dish and I find community in preparing meals for others. When folks come to the pantry, I like to think they are taking home not just food, but also the meaningful experiences that surround it like comfort, nourishment, joy and togetherness.

Our Board of Directors

Friedens couldn't operate without our amazing volunteers—including our board!

Learn more about our Board of Directors

“It is with a grateful heart to serve Friedens Community Ministries in a leadership position as a board member and as the chairman of the board for the past several years. We have grown as an organization from two pantries to four pantries with service to all parts of the city. There are hundreds of volunteers who donate thousands of hours led by a team of dedicated core staff who give their best every day. We know that we will not end hunger in our lifetime, but we also know those we serve will receive our very best with dignity and respect. Dignity, respect, kindness, and compassion make this organization different.”

Dr. David Nelson

Former Board president

Our Community Leaders

Our volunteers, such as Meri (above) and Mark (below), inform the work and direction of our organization.

A volunteer unboxing peach cups
A volunteer holding apples

Volunteers, like Murad, serve our community with dignity, respect, and a smile on their face. 

Schedule a Tour!

Interested in getting a tour of one or all of our pantries? Sign-up below!

Learn More About Us

Read about our financial reports, newsletters, and annual reports in our archive!

Interested in Joining our Team?

Looking to become a member of our wonderful staff? Are you committed to the Friedens community and want to offer your skills and time to a great cause? Check out our current job opportunities below!