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WAFER doubling food packages after receiving $30,000 grant

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WAFER food pantry will now give out two monthly food packages to families in need after a $30,000 grant from the Warren and Denise Loveland Family Fund at the La Crosse Community Foundation.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic WAFER, La Crosse County’s largest food pantry, served about 1,500 families per month in La Crosse, Bangor, Rockland, Holmen, Onalaska, Mindoro and West Salem.

However, lost wages due to to Gov. Tony Evers’ “safer at home” order have increased the number of individuals seeking assistance, and WAFER has responded by preparing bulk grocery packages and offering delivery through the school districts and community volunteers.

Annually, WAFER serves about 40,000 people, or 1.5 million meals. With the Warren and Denise Loveland Family Fund grant, WAFER will be able to provide about 120,000 meals during the next six to eight weeks, with packages increasing to two per month for all patrons. Food package deliveries or pickups must be spaced at least 10 days apart, and patrons will need to present a form of identification

“We feel fortunate to be able to support a local nonprofit in our community working to ensure people don’t have to go hungry during this challenging time,” says Warren Loveland, fund advisor of the Warren and Denise Loveland Family Fund at La Crosse Community Foundation. “La Crosse is so fortunate to have a food pantry like WAFER to help our community build safety nets for our most vulnerable households.”

In addition to the two food packages, those with additional need for groceries can request partial packages with dairy, bread and produce on weeks they don’t receive a full package.

Another package can be collected during the monthly Saturday Food Fair, being held May 16 and June 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at WAFER in La Crosse, 403 Causeway Blvd., or from 9 to 11 a.m. at Anytime Fitness, 1500 W. Hwy. 16, West Salem.

To participate, individuals must pick up a ticket at the La Crosse location before 12:45 on the Friday prior and bring their own bags or boxes to take their food home in.

The partial or Food Fair packages will not be counted toward the organization’s emergency food package yearly limit.

Bi-monthly food packages can be picked up at the side door on the Sumner Street entrance of WAFER, 403 Causeway Blvd. Open hours are 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and 4 to 7:45 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Wednesday and Friday.

For more information, call WAFER at 608-782-6003 or visit https://waferlacrosse.org/covid-19/.

Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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