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A $5,000 check from local nonprofit kicked off another successful Food Drive Fridays in La Crosse

Rick Solem

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It was a good way to start a Friday for Shelly Fortner, the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse executive director.

She knew she would see the La Crosse community, again, flood Food Drive Fridays with donations, but before that even happened her day started with an encouraging phone call.

“I got a call from God’s Country Muskie (Inc.), who wanted to kick off (the day) with a check for $5,000,” Fortner said on La Crosse Talk PM of the local nonprofit.

This effort to replenish food pantries across the Coulee Region has set a high bar from week to week.

This week — Week 4 — of Food Drive Fridays was a bit of a drop off from the previous three, in terms of food donated. But, that’s only because the first three weeks saw a ridiculous amount of donations.

Friday, over 8,400 pounds of food and $5,000 were donated at the three drive-thru locations throughout the La Crosse area. Fortner said a regular, everyday food drive brings in 3,000-5,000 pounds, so the 8,400 may be less than the 12,000-15,000 each of the first three weeks, but it’s still a great haul.

Plus, the cash donations really came through. On top of Fortner’s early phone call from Muskie Inc., there was another $6,000 donated online, bringing in a total of around $16,000 in one day, which will be doubled.

Double it because the Firefighters Credit Union in La Crosse will be matching all donations up to $50,000, now through the end of May.

“One of the reasons we’re still going strong is obviously the Firefighters commitment,” Fortner said, adding that the earlier anonymous donation up to $25,000 was also a huge help.

Over four weeks now, the drive has seen over 48,500 pounds of food and $119,300 donated with three Fridays remaining.

“We’re kind of hoping the results of this drive are going to last us through the fall and winter,” Fortner said. “That would be terrific, if we could just not have to worry about being able to supply the pantries once they are up and running. We want to be able to say, ‘We’re here, ready to serve you, we’ve got the food and you can count on us.'”

The best things to donate are these five items: cereal, peanut butter, tuna, pasta, pasta sauce.

The drive happens from 11 a.m.—1 p.m.

LOCATIONS

o Onalaska area: Valley View Mall parking lot (by former Macy’s location): 3800 Hwy 16,
La Crosse, WI (MAP)
o Downtown La Crosse: La Crosse County parking lot behind the Courthouse & Law
Enforcement Center: 333 Vine St, La Crosse, WI (MAP)
o South side La Crosse: Big Lots parking lot: 3960 Mormon Coulee Rd, La Crosse, WI (MAP)

NONPERISHABLE DONATION EXAMPLES:

Canned items needed include meats (tuna, chicken), peanut butter, soup, fruit; boxed side dishes (stuffing, rices, potatoes); breakfast items (cereal, oatmeal, etc); canned ravioli and Spaghetti O’s, pasta & pasta sauce.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM and "liberal hack" | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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