Cold winter increases need at WAFER - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Cold winter increases need at WAFER


LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - This winter is the 5th coldest on record. From heating bills to filling up at the pump, everyone is feeling the effects. Especially the WAFER Food Pantry.

Every month more than 1,600 families get food from WAFER.

Compared to the first two months of 2013, hundreds more have come to the pantry in need.

Lisa Schleich comes to WAFER once a month. She lives in La Crosse and works third shift.

Lisa's heating bill has put her over budget, so she comes to WAFER to help offset the costs
She's not alone.

Erin Waldhart, Executive Director of WAFER, said she "Expected our foot traffic to slow down with how cold and icy its been, it really hasn't."

Waldhart says food is often the first thing people give up when money is tight.  That's why WAFER has seen more people coming through their doors. Not only are there more more people in need, there's less food to go around. After the holidays, community donations decrease.

"Even though our donations might be down I don't want one person to go hungry in our community," said Waldhart.

Lisa gets heating assistance from the County to help her pay for her bill. The heating season runs until May 15th and the County says they still are accepting applications.

WAFER gives more than 100,000 pounds of food per month. They receive 10,000 pounds in donations.

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