June 16, 2008

Filling Up Jim’s Grocery Bag Will Help Feed Area Students

By Autumn Grooms, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jun. 16--Two upcoming events will help keep children in La Crosse and Vernon counties fed during the 2008-09 school year.

The first will be a lawn social and fundraiser June 26 at the David and Debra Abt Farm, S3588 S. Natwick, Viroqua, Wis. It will be followed by the La Crosse County Bar Association Golf Outing on July 25 at Forest Hills Country Club. Tee Times for the four-person scramble begin at 12:30 p.m.

Both will benefit Jim's Grocery Bag -- a permanent endowment fund that provides annual financial support to the La Crosse School District food pantries and school lunch program -- but funds will be distributed immediately to seven public school districts based on percentage levels for free and reduced meals, said Sheila Garrity, executive director of the

La Crosse Community Foundation.

It's a new twist for the 10th year to direct all of the proceeds to La Crosse, Onalaska, Holmen, West Salem, Bangor, Viroqua, Westby, Hillsboro, La Farge, Kickapoo and De Soto, "because of the increasing economic pressures on many families in our area," she said.

Many of the families who will receive funding were affected by recent flooding.

"Hunger overrides a student's ability to learn," Garrity said. "This helps make sure they get fed."

Jim's Grocery Bag was established in 1998 following the death of Garrity's husband and La Crosse attorney Jim Gokey. He helped initiate food drives among law offices to collect for the Hamilton Elementary School Food Pantry.

The program has distributed $102,123 since its inception 10 years ago. The endowment paid $19,000 to the La Crosse School District last week.

If you go

What: Special Jim's Grocery Bag 10th Anniversary Lawn Social and Fundraiser

When: 5 to 9 p.m. June 26

Where: David and Debra Abt Farm, S3588 S. Natwick, Viroqua, Wis.

What: La Crosse Bar Association Golf Outing to benefit Jim's Grocery Bag

When: 12:30 p.m. July 25

Where: Forest Hills Country Club

Cost: $75 for golf and barbecue; $50 for golf only; and $25 for barbecue only

Contact: Brian Weber at

(608) 784-5678 or Bill Flottmeyer at (608) 784-3567

--Donations to Jim's Grocery Bag can be made to the La Crosse Community Foundation, 300 Second St. N., Suite 320, La Crosse, WI 54601. For more information, call (608) 782-3223.

food program: Where and when

The La Crosse School District is offering free breakfast and lunch this summer for children 18 and younger through a federally funded program.

Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the following locations: June 9 to Aug. 15 at Emerson Elementary School, 2101 Campbell Road; June 23 to July 31 at Franklin Elementary School, 1611 Kane St., with no breakfast June 30 to July 3; June 9 to Aug. 15 at Hamilton Elementary School, 1111 S. Seventh St., with breakfast available July 7 to 31; July 7 to 31 at North Woods Elementary School, N2541 Sablewood Road; July 7 to 31 at Lincoln Middle School, 1450 Avon St., with lunch only; June 9 to Aug. 15 at Logan High School, 1500 Ranger Drive; June 9 to Aug. 15 at the La Crosse Area YMCA, 1140 Main St.

For more information, contact the La Crosse School District School Nutrition Office at (608) 789-7625.

Autumn Grooms can be reached at (608) 791-8424 or [email protected]


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