Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? For Coulee Region families, there’s one available every day of the week this summer, whether you are motivated by convenience or need. (We’ve indicated if a program requires you to qualify for participation.)

According to information provided by Gundersen Health System, summer vacation means an increased risk of chronic hunger for many kids who rely on free or reduced-price school lunches. We applaud all of these programs for their efforts to ensure no child in our community goes hungry. Help us help them spread the word!

Did we miss your summer meal program? Email Lissa Carlson to be added.

Gundersen Health System in La Crosse is offering two free meals each weekday to ages 18 and younger.* Each day there will be a breakfast option and a lunch/supper option, and kids may enjoy both. These nutritious, kid-friendly meals will include milk, fruits and veggies, whole grains, and protein. There’s no need to sign up; kids can just show up and enjoy.

The following La Crosse locations will serve free meals Monday-Friday through August 31:

• Gundersen Cafeteria, 1900 South Ave.
– Breakfast: 9 a.m. – Noon
– Lunch/supper option: Noon – 6 p.m.
• Gundersen Bistro (behind hospital info desk), 1900 South Ave.
– Lunch/supper option: 4 – 6 p.m.

• Poage Park, 500 Hood St.
– Lunch: 11:15 – 11:30 a.m.
– Supper: 4:30-5 p.m. (provided by La Crosse Area Family YMCA through August 17)
• Powell Park, 1002 West Ave. S.
– Lunch: 11:45 a.m. – Noon

The La Crosse Area Family YMCA provides kids and teens ages 18 and younger with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack each weekday, and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays, through August 17.

YMCA-La Crosse
• Lunch:
– Monday-Friday – 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
– Saturday-Sunday – 12-12:30 p.m.
• Supper: Monday-Friday, 3-4 p.m.
• Snack: Monday-Friday – 7-7:30 p.m.

Community Teen Center
• Breakfast: Monday-Friday, 7:45-8:15 a.m.
• Supper: Monday-Friday, 3-5 p.m.

Schuh/Mullen Homes Boys & Girls Club
• Lunch: Monday-Friday, 12:15-12:45 p.m.

Mathy Center Boys & Girls Club
• Dinner: Monday-Friday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Volunteer opportunities available; email Lisa Luckey.

Many school districts, churches, and other organizations offer meals during the summer.

School District of La Crosse

(See page 2 of link to PDF for program sites and times.)
Breakfast & lunch options, Monday-Friday. Adults accompanying their children may purchase a meal for $2 (breakfast) and $3 (lunch). 

Summer Feeding Program

Breakfast & lunch options, Monday-Friday, at Northern Hills Elementary, 910 East Ave. N., Onalaska. Adults accompanying their children may purchase a meal for $2.95 (breakfast) and $4.20 (lunch).

Feed Our Children

Summer lunch program facilitated by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in West Salem.

The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse provides a complete listing of additional food programs.

Feed the Kids is a summer meal initiative to provide food to families and children that do not have access to other summer feeding programs.  More than 15,000 cold lunches were made and delivered to children in need in 2017.

Feed the Kids continues through August 30. Here is the 2018 route:



La Crosse Area YMCA

11 a.m.

Weigent Park
(Parks and Rec Summer Program)

11:10 a.m.

Pineview Mobile Home Park

11:30 a.m.

Brookview Mobile Home Park

11:45 a.m.

Schuh Mullen Boys and Girls Club

12 noon

Golden Valley Mobile Home Park

12 noon

Huber Court

12:15 p.m.

Mathy Boys and Girls Club

12:30 p.m.

Poage Park

12:40 p.m.

Powell Park

12:50 p.m.

Donations are also needed. If you’d like to contribute, below is a list of needs. Drop off donations at 223 N. 8th St.

-Sliced bread (currently the biggest need)
-Resealable sandwich bags
-Brown paper lunch bags
-Plastic spoons
-Bottled water
-Juice boxes
-Lunch meat
-Pudding/Jell-O/Fruit cups
-Single serve snacks

If you’d like to become a community partner, please call The Salvation Army at 782-6126.

Late last summer, the Hamilton Helping Hands Little Free Pantry was built and installed at Hamilton/SOTA Elementary School on the corner of Seventh and Johnson Streets, thanks to collaborative efforts between Hamilton families and volunteers from the Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Association.

“Take-what-you-need, give-what-you-can” at this Little Free Pantry.

Want to donate? Hot items include:
Toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, diapers, mac and cheese, crackers, peanut butter, granola bars, and nuts. Bring items directly to the pantry located in front of Hamilton at 1111 Seventh St. S.

You can also make monetary donations through the Facebook page or mail donations to LCNI at P.O. Box 1661, La Crosse, WI 54602.

The mobile WAFER pantry vehicle allows you to pick your own product at multiple locations in the region. This program requires income eligibility. Learn more at their website.