La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW) ---- A lot of time has passed since this former farm girl shared a meal with her parents but she remembers that they were always good, full of fresh, straight from the garden foods. She assumed everyone ate that way until a community dinner one night at her church.
"We decided to just invite people to come for supper. Dinner was free. Thirty-five people showed up. I remember it had been a very snowy day that winter and a little boy came with his dad and I said to him, are you hungry tonight? We're gonna have spaghetti. He told me he had not eaten that day," said Sonja Simonson Schrag. From that moment on Schrag carried on the values of faith communities all over the world to "share the bounty."
"We're very often aware of -well there's famines right now in Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan-but there are problems right here," says Schrag.
That little guy that didn't have anything to eat that day-I suppose it would have been easier-and a lot cheaper to just give him a bag of chips.
Some say Sonja coined the phrase "food insecurity" but she definitely helped launch "Share the Bounty," a program that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to those who can't afford it. Since part of their goal is to support local growers, most of her work is done at the Farmer's Market.
"If they're buying something they may want to buy a little extra and then go over to the share the bounty table, you'll find us cause we have a large banner....and give it to us." "Share the Bounty" donates what they collect to The Hunger Task Force who distributes the food to over fifty area food pantries. Local growers donate what they don't sell.
News 19's Heather Armstrong asked the Jefferson Award winner if she ever thinks about that little boy. Sonja replied, "I'll never forget him because for him alone doing that meal was well worth it."