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Food pantry holds open house at new home in long-time La Crosse grocery store



The new location of WAFER in La Crosse on May 10, 2023 (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

Generations of La Crosse residents have bought groceries inside a store at the intersection of Gillette and George Streets.

Most recently, it was Gordy’s Market. Now, after a major makeover, the building remains a food store, but it’s now the WAFER community food pantry.

From flour to toilet paper, the aisles at WAFER are being stocked for customers (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

The organization hosted an open house on Wednesday, prior to the start of regular business on Monday, and WAFER director Erin Waldhart has some goals for the new location. Her three main objectives: “A dignified shopping experience, improved safety for our volunteer staff and patrons, and then also that we don’t flood any more.”

WAFER’s previous home, near the riverfront, is in an area prone to flooding. Remodeling of the George Street supermarket began about a year ago.

Waldhart says COVID caused the number of visitors to the old WAFER location to drop sharply, but those numbers have gone up again in the last year. She estimates that about 1500 area families a month obtain food and supplies from the pantry.

The new WAFER location, shown here on May 10, 2023, in the former Gordy’s Market has a large warehouse area (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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