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Martha Watts Dining Room Fundraiser Project

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In partnership with the Martha Watts Dining Room Fundraiser Project and the MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary, monies raised will support building the dining room on the first floor of the sanctuary to feed the poor and the homeless. 

Here is the link to a personal message from Martha Watts. 

Please click Here:

[Note:  If you donate to this project, you will be sent a copy of the famous Watts Tea Room Sunshine Cake recipe!]

Martha has supported Sister MacCanon Brown for over 15 years as Sister MacCanon has been working tirelessly for the homeless since 1991.  Martha Watts and her family have donated the tables, chairs, china, glasses and silverware for use in our future dining room from the Watt's Tea Room.  We are eternally grateful for Martha and George Watts and her family.

The video below is a Positively Milwaukee feature with WTMJ4 Carole Meekins featuring the MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary.



Regarding the MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary, "We are a daytime sanctuary and multi-resource center for homeless and at-risk individuals. Our core values are healing, spirituality, recovery, peer empowerment, dignity, nonviolence, advocacy, voice, sustainability and mutual transformation. Our sanctuary is a place to be, belong and become within a transformational solidarity community--interfaith, nonpartisan, intercultural, and noncanonical. We are a racially and economically diverse family of hope who seek to strengthen Milwaukee’s overwhelmed safety net." 

This is the Mission Vision statement of the MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary. As many of you know our work is established in the epicenter of the 53206 zip code, the most resource scarce area of Wisconsin. It is a "food desert." For most of the residents food scarcity is a daily reality. This is why we have prioritized food distribution and urban agriculture since our earliest weeks and months there. Before the pandemic we offered a growing meal program for five years in a nearby church basement. Since the pandemic began we have been providing one weeks supply of food and other essentials to hundreds of households and individuals unceasingly. Now the time has come to establish our meal program into the building we are transforming at 2461 W. Center St. Your support of the Martha Watts Dining Room will reverse poverty, improve health and move despair into hope for uncountable numbers of people.

A Message from Sister MacCanon Brown. 

                                 Please Click On Photo Below:                                                 


      A Message from Karen Dubis.  Please Click On Photo Below:   

Beloved Martha Watts, "...the best way to control was through love."

Martha Watts (hereafter referred to as Martie as known by family and friends) was raised in Washington, D.C. with her slightly younger sister Mimi.  Her father worked first as an attorney for Congress and then an attorney for the Federal Reserve.  Her father Al Cherry was one of the original authors of the banking law passed in the first days of FDR’s presidency.  Her mother was a brilliant woman from Salt Lake City whose heritage goes back to the original settlers of Utah.  

Martie Cherry Watts as a baby with her mother.  

She remembers December 7, 1941 at Griffin Stadium in Washington, D.C.  The Redskins were playing the Eagles.  At 2 p.m. The announcements began, “ Admiral W.H.P. Bland is asked to report to his office at once!”  “The resident commissioner of the Philippines, is urged to report to his office immediately.” They went on and on.  The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.  World War II had begun.  She was in high school. 

Just married Martie and George Watts.


Martie did not know that her new husband was a farmer in his heart.  Yes, he was a merchant too, but she was destined to live on a farm and help with all of his many projects including a large garden, chickens, pigs, steer and many other assorted animals.  She was a good sport and grew to love all of these projects.  

Martie Watts began her married life in Milwaukee before she was 21.  When she turned 21, she immediately registered and looked forward to voting.  She was surprised to find that she could find little information about local candidates from the newspaper or pamphlets.  As a result she and another woman, Polly Frank, started what became the League of Women Voters for Ozaukee County.  She was extremely active in this organization for many years. 

[See articles below]  

Martie has always been an avid reader and a strong believer in education.  She didn’t finish college, but she continued with her exploration of ideas and philosophy.  One of her other interests included Great Books.  She led a group of people who would read a book from the Great Books series and hold monthly discussions about those books.  She was a young matron who loved the discussion of various perspectives.  This has continued throughout her life. 

In a March 7, 1952 Milwaukee Journal she is quoted as saying, “The Prince by Machiavelli” was her answer to the question pertaining to a book helping her in raising children or changing her ideas.  She explains, “I got an entirely new idea about fear.  I had always believed a certain amount of fear necessary in making a child mind…After reading The Prince and leading the discussion which followed it, I decided that control through fear was not control at all…I decided that the best way to control was through love.”  

Martie has always spoken her mind about issues of importance to her.  On October 9, 1967 she is quoted in the Milwaukee Sentinel as a response to the question as to whether Ozaukee County communities should adopt open housing ordinances.  “I feel very strongly about social justice, that’s all…A person who is able to afford a house anywhere, should have the right to buy it.  And if we have to pass laws to give him this right, then that’s what we should  do.”


Martie was a great supporter of education throughout her life.  In the very early years of the Penfield Children’s Center, when it was called the Via Marsi Montessori School, she was a supporter and board member.  Her enthusiasm for this school brought it to the attention of many others in the community. 

Later, Martie supported George with other projects.  George ran for governor of Wisconsin in 1986 and Martie travelled with him to all the corners of the state, meeting all sorts of people and enjoying it immensely.  Later she supported his run for mayor of Milwaukee in 2001.  

Martie raised five children, Cherry, Jennifer, J.D., Mark, and Abigail.  She supported their many activities and various farm animals which they raised.  Goats, sheep, burro, Shetland pony, horse were all part of the menagerie, including dogs and cats.  

Martie is the proud owner of 110 acres of forest, field, marsh, and lakes.  She placed this land in the Washington/Ozaukee Land Trust so that it will remain a haven for wildlife and people who appreciate nature.  She is an environmentalist at heart and has just installed a solar array to support her home.  

Always willing to support her husband, Martie worked at Watts Tea Shop, welcoming and organizing, in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

A rendition of George Watts and Son, Inc.  The Tea Shop is on the second floor. 

Martie Watts has been an ardent supporter of diversity in our communities.  She enthusiastically supports the International Institute and all its work in supporting new immigrants, providing language translators, connecting with other cultures in the world.  Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin has a plethora of people from other places around the world who make all of us stronger and more resilient.  

Article in the NewGraphic about Ozaukee County Jail Literacy group.  

The 90th birthday celebration with children, spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  

And still to this day, Martie Watts continues to collaborate to make the world a better place by helping others. 



Diagram of the plans for the Food Service Equipment Plan:  






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