Developing brains need nourishing food to thrive, but unfortunately too many families in La Crosse don't have access to it.
More and more families are depending on free and reduced lunches to make sure their children can eat.
As of last school year, 46 percent of students in the La Crosse School District received free and reduced lunches. This year at Northside Elementary, 83 percent of student are a part of the program.
"There's a huge difference. They are happy, first of all. Emotionally they are feeling good about themselves and good about the work that is being presented to them," Lisa Hilker, Kindergarten teacher at Northside Elementary said.
Students are able to receive breakfast before school, lunch and sometimes a snack after school.
"It says there is a pretty serious economic situation out there and our families are experiencing it and we want to get out ahead and help as much as we can," Laura Huber, school principal said.
"I've had students in my classroom and know of students all over the school who absolutely depend on these meals," Hilker added.
For some kids if they don't eat at school, they might not get another meal that day.
"It is absolutely necessary in this community and we are lucky to have a school where our community takes advantage of it," Hilker said.
"Families fall on hard times and it's not the child's fault," Huber said. She said it is the school's and the community's responsibility to pick up
The pieces, to make sure a child has everything needed to be successful.
If you think your family could qualify for free and reduced meals, it's not too late. All you have to do is pick up and application at your child's school, fill it out and the district will let you know if you qualify. The district urges all families in need to apply.