LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – In our segment WIProud, we highlight what makes the badger state unique and special.

Tonight, Alex Loroff takes a look at how three organizations are working together in the Coulee Region to help fight food insecurity. During national hunger awareness month.

September is National Hunger Awareness Month, leading Coulee Region organizations to band together to help those dealing with food insecurity.

The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse has been addressing hunger issues for more than 20 years, but the pandemic has caused it to expand its operation.

“The Hunger Task Force has had to change its role, going from just a food bank which distributes to pantries to actually being a distributor of the food,” Executive Director Shelly Fortner said. “We have been doing drive-up food drives, probably once a month, for the last year-and-a-half.”

This month, the Hunger Task Force received some help with its food distribution from Kwik Trip and City National Bank.

Steve Wrobel with Kwik Trip Public Relations says the food drive helps the organization fulfill a goal to support struggling people in the Coulee Region.

“For all of us at Kwik Trip, it’s about giving back to the communities we serve, helping with the Hunger Task Force is just a part of that,” Wrobel added.

City National Bank joined Kwik Trip due to a recent partnership between the two companies.

“This is something that we like to do every time that we establish a new relationship is go into the community where our customer lives and works and try to do what we can to alleviate hunger in that community,” Managing Director Jennifer Braasch explained.

Both Braasch and Wrobel are proud to support the Hunger Task Force, as well as help the large number of people who benefited from this month’s drive.

“There’s clearly a need based on the turnout that we’ve seen…but we’re happy to be able to be here and to be able to do whatever small part we can,” Braasch said.

“Everyone who has come through says thank you, they’re so appreciative, and it just warms your heart to see that,” Wrobel expressed.

Fortner adds that drive-up distributions are the safest way to get food out to the community, so they won’t be going away anytime soon.

“I really do see us doing these drive-up distributions for several months yet, through the winter and into next spring,” Fortner said.

The October distribution event will be taking place at the Salvation Army Warehouse in La Crosse.

More information will be released in the coming weeks on the Hunger Task Force’s Facebook page.