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WAFER’s Waldhart says choice important, as SNAP task force looks to ban sugary items



A national task force designed to take a look at the best ways to provide food stamp benefits says unhealthy items should be forbidden.

The Bipartisan Policy Center SNAP task force, the program which Wisconsin uses, suggests eliminating sugary beverages from the approved list of items.

WAFER Food Pantry Executive Director Erin Waldhart says it should be a personal decision.

“They are able to choose their own food,” Waldhart said. “It provides them with a sense of autonomy. It gives them an opportunity to have responsibility and control over that aspect of their life.”

Waldhart says the education programs on healthy foods have gotten positive reviews over the past few years, and they try to stock as many healthy options at the store as possible.

As for donations to the pantry, Waldhart says they aren’t in the position to be denying donations.

“There’s been a shift in the way that we think about what we eat and what’s available,” she said. “There’s a mix of healthier options and not-so-healthy options. We don’t seek out to purchase anything that’s sugar filled, like sugary cereals.

“But, that’s not to say if somebody gives up a sugary cereal, that we’re not going to put it on the shelf.”

Along with the possible ban on things like soft drinks, the task force suggest incentives for purchasing fruits and vegetables.


Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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