About Us – Our History

Identifying a Need

In 1996, the La Crosse County Health Department conducted a survey to determine the number of households in the county where food did not meet the needs of the family. This survey demonstrated significant gaps in food availability.

A formal organization was needed to address the gaps: The Hunger Task Force was formed. The Hunger Task Force is a liaison, linking hunger organizations to one another to jointly attempt to alleviate hunger.

Kane Street Community Garden Established

The newly organized Hunger Task Force of La Crosse determined a community garden could not only provide food for those who needed it, but provide the vegetables that were missing from many diets.

The Kane Street Community Garden was established in 1999. Read more about The Kane Street Community Garden.

Food Recovery Program Becomes Major Initiative

In 2000, the idea of preventing safe, wholesome food from going to waste became a concern. A leased truck immediately began picking up food from distributors and other donors to distribute around the community. By 2002, the Food Recovery Program (originally named Three Rivers Harvest) was serving 19 area meal sites and food pantries.

Today, The Hunger Task Force is serving over 120 meal sites, food pantries, youth programs, and outreach sites in La Crosse, Vernon, Trempealeau, Crawford and Monroe Counties in Wisconsin, Houston and Winona Counties in Minnesota, and Allamakee County in Iowa. In 2023, over 500,000 pounds of TMP (Trade Mitigation Product), 300,000 pounds of Fresh Produce Boxes, 179,983 pounds of Badger Boxes, and 2,000,000 pounds of “recovered” food was distributed to these partner programs. Our Senior Stockbox Program delivered 138,637 pounds of food to eligible seniors.