LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Thousands of children in the La Crosse School District rely on meal assistance programs and that need continues when school is out for the summer.
The La Crosse School District Nutrition Office said that almost half of the district's 7,000 students rely in some way on a meal or food assistance program.
School nutrition specialists say that while school is in session, the district provides discounted lunches, free food, and meal assistance to students.
When school is out of session for summer or holidays, these children still need help or will go hungry.
The school district has installed food pantries in seven elementary schools to allow students to take backpacks full of food home for the weekends or vacation.
A local charity called Jim's Grocery Bag Fund is also helping stock the food pantries shelves.
The fund is in memory of Jim Gokey, a former attorney at Johns Flaherty and Collins.
Back in 1998, at 48 years old, Jim passed away from brain cancer.
While living in La Crosse, Jim organized dozens of food drives at local law firms and helped feed hundreds of children in the La Crosse area.
In the past eleven years, Jim's Grocery Bag Fund has raised more than $132,000 for the school district's food shelves.
If anyone would like to help support the meal programs or Jim's Grocery Bag Fund, there is an opportunity on July 29th with a golf outing is at Forest Hills at noon.
Anyone is welcome to play in the outing on July 29th.
The $75 fee includes golf and a barbeque.
To register for the outing, call Brian Weber at 608-784-5678.
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