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 2022, over 1,500,000 pounds of TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program), 300,000 pounds of Fresh Produce Boxes, and 2,500,000 pounds of “recovered” food was distributed to these partner programs.