by Amy Burke
The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County’s Echelon chapter hosted a Meaningful Makeover event earlier this year at the Army’s emergency lodge. During the two-day event, 50 young professionals helped rejuvenate residents and restore rooms at the lodge, the only 24-hour shelter in Milwaukee serving men, women and families with children. Money to fund the project was raised at Echelon Milwaukee’s Red Tie in the Sky Gala.
“Echelon Milwaukee’s vision is to end homelessness in Milwaukee County,” said Brandon Tschacher, co-president of Echelon Milwaukee. “Even in times of great need, all people deserve comfort and a place of sanctuary.”
On the first day some Echelon members painted rooms, updated décor, added storage options and provided new bedding, while others acted as stylists, shopping at the Army’s thrift store for business casual clothing and presenting it to residents, who had applied for the program and provided their sizes. On the second day, a dozen residents were whisked away to receive haircuts at a local salon. While stylists cut hair, members helped residents feel comfortable by talking with them and making suggestions. “I thought I was just getting a haircut,” said one resident. ”They went above and beyond.”
During the three years of Meaningful Makeover, Echelon members have helped revamp six rooms and provided makeovers to at least 36 individuals. “Every year gets better,” said Mary Pelkofer, copresident of Echelon Milwaukee.