La Crosse County Emergency Response Fund activated in response to COVID-19. More details here.


La Crosse Area Emergency Response Fund – Grants Awarded!

July 8, 2020

Katie Berkedal, Program DirectorBy Katie Berkedal, Program Director


Complete list of grants awarded:

The Hunger Task Force was awarded $10,439 to help support their increase in demand from the 91 local pantries, meal sites, and youth programs they supply. Their local partners together serve 7,200 individuals per month, and need to adapt to providing more “to-go” and delivered meals with more distributions than usual.

The Parenting Place was awarded $3,000 to stock their diaper bank. They provide between 3,000 to 5,000 diapers per month to families. Although their office is closed to the public, Parenting Place remains committed to helping families meet this need with scheduled curbside diaper pick-up times.

Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse was awarded $10,000 to help provide 200 meals daily to Club kids and their families in West Salem and La Crosse. They’re partnering with Waterfront Restaurant, who’ll cover the $7,000 weekly food bill, to ensure their most vulnerable kids get fed evening and weekend meals, despite the clubs being closed. This grant will offset the cost of staff delivering the meals.

Couleecap was awarded a $20,000 grant to provide just-in-time critical bill payment assistance for low-wage workers in La Crosse County who have lost or reduced their employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outreach will be focused on people laid off from service or retail industries, and funding will be provided to help with critical bills, such as rent, car payments, life-critical prescription costs, utility bills, and more.

YMCA was awarded $52,934 to offset the cost of running their emergency childcare programs in La Crosse and Onalaska. All of the children they currently serve are children of essential workers in the community. This program is costing the YMCA a significant amount of money to operate; much more than program fees will cover, and this grant will cover the loss for the month of April.

Great Rivers United Way HUB was awarded $10,000 to help consumers of the HUB with transportation and food costs, and emergency hotel stays for families who are unsheltered. The HUB is a system that bridges the gap between health care delivery and the social service sector to produce cost savings, improved population health outcomes, and increased client experience and engagement. They employ community health workers who serve people at higher risk of poor health outcomes by being their Sherpa; navigating through all the various resources in our community to effectively refer folks to the most appropriate paths for health.

Vivent Health (formerly AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin) was awarded $18,264 to deliver medication, food, and at-home HIV testing kits, and provide housing assistance, counseling, and overdose prevention to the 72 clients they serve in La Crosse County. The mission of Vivent Health is to be a relentless champion for people affected by HIV and to do all they can to help them thrive.

Coulee Council on Addiction was awarded $12,800 to connect their recovery coaches with residents at the Warming Center and Salvation Army. All residents are locked-in currently, and cannot return if they leave. This situation is especially trying for residents who have substance use disorder. Shelter staff will coordinate contact (virtually) between residents and CCA recovery coaches. This award will also fund a media campaign for CCA to share the following message: “The opposite of addiction is connection, we are here for you… you are not alone!”

FSPA’s Coulee Region Immigration Task Force was awarded $17,500 to assist local families meet their basic necessities. The mission of FSPA’s Immigration Task Force is to welcome, advocate and educate in the service of new, recent, and established immigrants. They identified 35 families greatly impacted by COVID-19 who may not be able to access other resources. This grant will provide them with help paying for rent, utilities, and food.

Wafer, Inc. was awarded $15,200 to purchase prepackaged food boxes from Channel One Food Bank, Feeding America to sustain their food distribution programs. The food boxes contain basic staples, and also frozen meat, dairy, produce, and baked goods. In just a few short weeks, Wafer experienced a 30 percent increase in the number of families requesting assistance for the first time ever.

Habitat  for Humanity was awarded a $4,128 grant to assist their homeowners with emergency mortgage assistance.

La Crosse County Health Department was awarded $12,945 to cover the expense of producing and distributing a public COVID-19 media campaign.

Coulee Collaborative to End Homelessness of the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse was awarded $200,000 to support the efforts across four local agencies who are responding to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

La Crosse Neighborhoods, Inc. was awarded $4,800 to stock the Little Free Pantries outside Hamilton Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School, and establish a new one on the north side of La Crosse.

Wiscorps was awarded $12,022 to support a Disaster Response Crew to deploy around serving nonprofits who provide critical services to those suffering the most from the COVID-19 pandemic, yet are lacking the volunteers to carry out their good work (i.e. Mobile Meals, Salvation Army).

Couleecap, Inc. was awarded $44,000 to replenish their “just-in-time” critical bill payment program for low-wage workers in La Crosse County.

La Crosse Neighborhoods, Inc. was awarded $2,500 to support the Little Free Pantry at Longfellow Middle School.

Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse was awarded $15,000 to support their Supper Club program again. Staff from the Club are delivering evening and weekend meals to Club members and their families.

St. Clare Health Mission was awarded $40,000 to offset an unexpected increase in prescription med costs for patients. They’re reaching out to patients and making sure they have 90 days of all their prescriptions to limit their exposure in coming back to the clinic every 30 days. The Mission only serves patients with no insurance, so their cost in filling prescriptions is quite high.

Parenting Place was awarded another $4,000 to support their Diaper Bank. They provide between 3,000 to 5,000 diapers per month to families and are currently offering scheduled curbside pickups for families in need.

Coulee Region RSVP was awarded $3000 to purchase supplies for volunteers to make masks for area nursing homes, veterans hospitals and centers, hospitals, and individuals over 55 who have no other way of getting a mask. A volunteer drops off supplies to homes of 50-75 volunteers who are making over 700 masks per month. Masks are picked up and distributed to those who need them.

YWCA was awarded a $35,000 grant to help essential workers afford the cost of their daycare program, and for food and baby essentials for their onsite free pantry.

La Crosse Public Education Foundation was awarded $7,500 from the emergency fund and another $2,500 from a LCF fund-holder to fulfill their $10,000 request to provide wireless hotspots to 50 families of middle school students who have no internet access to do homework at home. The school district of La Crosse is providing hotspots to high school students.

YMCA was awarded another $40,000 to support their childcare program for children of essential employees. The YMCA chose to offer this program to the community during the COVID crisis, and is doing so at a tremendous financial loss to the organization. The grants from this emergency fund are offsetting most of the financial loss for the YMCA so they can continue to offer this program to families who need it most.

Couleecap, Inc. was awarded $33,000 to support their “just in time” bill payment assistance program (detailed above). Emergency fund support of this critical program is now $97,000.

La Crosse County System of Care was awarded $5,000 to assist 20-25 high school youth, most of whom do not qualify for unemployment and are living alone, with paying rent, utility bills, phone bills, and hygiene/personal care products.

FSPA’s Coulee Region Immigration Task Force was awarded $37,500 to assist local families meet their basic necessities. The mission of the Task Force is to welcome, advocate and educate in the service of new, recent, and established immigrants. They identified 50 families greatly impacted by COVID-19 who may not be able to access other resources. This grant will provide them with help paying for rent, utilities, and food.

La Crosse Citizen Advocacy (ARC La Crosse) was awarded $900 to expand the hours of their staff to provide extra needed support for community members with developmental and related disabilities. They provide one-on-one communication for emotional support and assistance in connecting clients to advocates who can help guide them through all the changes brought by the COVID pandemic.

The School District of La Crosse – Nutrition Department was awarded $10,935 to purchase heavy duty bag sealers and other supplies to allow for improved efficiencies of meal production for students. The district currently only has one bag sealer, so staff are manually taping and twist-tying bags for meal packs. They anticipate a continued need for individually packaging foods until school resumes, and need this special equipment to ensure that food is handled and provided in the safest way possible. Free meals are delivered via school bus to children 18 years or younger seven days a week through 10 bus routes and 33 delivery locations in La Crosse. Staff prepare, package, and distribute over 2,500 meals daily Mon-Fri and over 9,000 meals on Fridays to last through the weekend. Since March 19, over 90,500 free meals were provided to children.

Adult and Teen Challenge was awarded $500 to purchase meat and produce for meals their residents are preparing for Coulecap’s clients. Most of their groceries are provided by Hunger Task Force, but like many food banks, are experiencing a shortage of meat and produce.

La Crosse Neighborhoods, Inc. was awarded $7,000 to stock Free Little Pantries at Hamilton Elementary, Lincoln Middle, Longfellow Middle, and Northside Elementary with food and toiletries.

Habitat for Humanity – La Crosse Area was awarded $1,946.56 to assist homeowners with mortgage payments.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse was awarded $50,000 to reduce the cost of their summer child care for children of essential employees.

Innovative Services, Inc. was awarded $4,000 to support their purchases of PPE, cleaning/sanitation supplies, and thermometers to keep their staff and clients safe as they continue to provide services in La Crosse County. Innovative Services helps people live independently in their own homes through their community-supported living and comprehensive community supports. Their staff go into homes to support medication management, personal hygiene, groceries and meals, cleaning, and other critical areas of life to enable individuals to live independently. They also provide support to approximately 65 local youth with mental health challenges and/or disabilities.

LGBT Resource Center for the Seven Rivers Region, Inc. was awarded $1,206 to support the purchase of safety supplies needed to reopen, such as no contact thermometers, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and dispensers, Plexiglas, signage, and other cleaning items. They serve LGBTQ community members who are disproportionately affected by housing insecurity, job insecurity, and food insecurity.

New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Center was awarded a $1,000 grant to cover the cost of emergency hotel stays for survivors who are fleeing from domestic abuse/sexual assault/human trafficking. Because of the increased need to socially isolate during COVID-19, as well as job losses, financial anxiety and lack of resources, many victims have found themselves in heightened situations of abuse or intimate partner violence.

La Crosse County Health Department was awarded a $5,000 grant to support social workers in their efforts to work with clients who were advised to quarantine for 14 days but are not receiving any income from their employer and who have not been approved for unemployment. Social workers will use this grant to provide financial assistance to clients to help repay lost revenue and pay for basic needs.

FSPA Coulee Region Immigration Task Force was awarded a $22,500 grant to provide $750 to 30 families in La Crosse County to help them cover basic necessities. The mission of the task force is to welcome, advocate and educate in the service of new, recent, and established immigrants. This grant will provide them with help paying for rent, utilities, and food.

The Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin, Inc. was awarded a $5,000 grant to start the new DSAW Connects program, a virtual class series for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities. DSAW will use the program to connect with 80 individuals in La Crosse County. Courses include Wellness and Workout, Life Skills, Social Skills, Art, Cooking, Tiny Tots, Music Therapy, Scrap-booking, Yoga, Zumba, Teen Club, Self-Advocate Club, Expectant Parent’s Group, New Parent’s Group, Grandparent’s Group, Mom’s Night, and more.


While we are humbled to be able to provide these grants, please know this funding will not cover all their needs. If you can help, please do. 


More about the La Crosse Area Emergency Response Fund here