Onalaska Walmart helps WAFER combat hunger - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Onalaska Walmart helps WAFER combat hunger

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - It's a stroke in the right direction.

Volunteers from the Walmart in Onalaska are picking up a paintbrush as their weapon to help fight against hunger.

The group of volunteers has teamed up with WAFER to give the food pantry a makeover.

"I'm really happy to give back to (WAFER) because they've done so much for the people in this town and the whole area," said Heather Desrocher, a Walmart cashier.

The cause hits close to home for Desrocher.

"I've been affected by it. And I know, myself, I've had hard times and I know this place well," she said. "I've also recommended customers to come here when they said they were having hard times."

"(WAFER does) so much without asking for anything in return so whenever you can help people like that out, it's a tremendous feeling inside," said Richard Melvy, a Walmart assistant manager.

For Melvy, volunteering at WAFER is just about giving back – and proving to his wife he can paint.

"I haven't painted in about 12 years. My wife does all the painting at home so...," Melvy said.

The whiter WAFER's walls get, the closer it is to getting a little green. If this Walmart team logs enough hours, WAFER can get a $50,000 check to help fight hunger in the Coulee Region.

"I'm relatively new to the position and I'm just astounded by the amount we need to spend every month just to meet the demand," said Erin Waldhart, WAFER executive director. "Just to count on 3 to 4 months of money to buy food is just a real relief."

For these Walmart volunteers, time does matter. The more hours they spend doing some good for WAFER, the closer they get to that check that helps feed the La Crosse community.

Along with painting WAFER, Walmart staff has cleaned the food pantry and even assisted in WAFER's activity in the Maple Leaf Parade.

This project is part of the Walmart Fighting Hunger Together initiative.

The Onalaska Walmart is competing against about a thousand other Walmarts.

The store manager said their team is in second place right now.

But, they're hoping to finish out on top when the competition ends Oct. 14.

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