Building Capacity, Dignity, and Hope - Campaign Fundraiser

Donate today by sending a check to WAFER Food Pantry, 403 Causeway Blvd, La Crosse, WI 54603. Please indicate if your donation is for the new facility fundraising with the words "Campaign" in the memo.

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Watch our Progress

wafer teaching cooking class

The Search

For the past decade, WAFER Food Pantry’s Board of Directors has searched for a new facility to relocate operations. There are several significant factors that necessitated relocation, the most important of which is that we have physically outgrown the current facility and the ability to carry out the mission effectively.

In response to community needs, several programs were added in the last 10 years; food package delivery to seniors, weekend backpacks to food insecure children in Bangor, Nutrition Education, and Mobile Food Pantry distribution.  Each program is extremely important for underserved populations, yet require dedicated facility space.

Current Facility Issues

Our too tight facility prohibits capitalizing on all food donation opportunities.  A larger facility will provide opportunities to recover more healthy foods and create an environment where patrons feel cared for in a space that provides a dignified shopping experience.  Sometimes the hardest thing is just getting people to walk through our doors. A welcoming space will go far in reaching people.

The facility on Causeway Boulevard is the lowest point in La Crosse. Heavy rains, a high river level, and spring melt-off all contribute to flooding risks.

Wafer old lot with flooding issues
wheat icon

The Announcement

After a lengthy search for a new facility the Board of Directors purchased the former Gordy’s Market, on the corner of George and Gillette streets in La Crosse, on August 26th, 2021.  This news was announced to the community on August 27th, 2021.  You can view a brief news segment here or a brief snippet of the actual community announcement here.

WAFER road sign with future home message

Project Updates

**Please check back frequently for updates throughout the renovation and relocation process.  We are excited to share this next step in WAFER’s history with you and look forward to the future of continued service to the community.

October 18th, 2021

The work is beginning today!

ceiling tiles taken down from new facility

December 17th, 2021

The building planning committee has been meeting since September. Frequency of meetings has increased to one time weekly now to lay out plans for logistics, flow, equipment placement, warehouse organization, and more. The plan is so close!

planning meeting

March 8th, 2022

WAFER receives a portion of the $2 million ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds designated for La Crosse non-profits. The award will be used to partially fund the walk-in cooler and freezer project. You can see the press conference announcement here. Our thanks to WIZM for the photo.

WAFER team with mayor and ARPA group

March 15th, 2022

The building plans are nearly complete. The building planning committee (comprised of staff and board members) met with the architects, engineers, and consultants to discuss internal and external lighting, rainwater mitigation, surveillance, networking, finishes, workstations, and more.

 

WAFER team planning new floorplan layout

April 25th, 2022

Local construction companies had an opportunity to hear the scope of the project, ask questions directly to the architects, and visually inspect the facility at this pre-bid meeting. Construction companies will have until the second week in May to submit proposals for renovation.

May 13th, 2022

Construction bids have been received and are being read aloud. The Board of Directors will meet to review the options and make a decision on which bid to accept.

May 22nd, 2022

Fowler and Hammer was selected for the renovation and construction project. Today, the contract was signed by Board President, Taylor Haley. 

June 15th, 2022

After more than a decades long search, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to kick off the renovation and construction project. 

Board members, staff, volunteers, and many supporters participated in this historic event. 

 

June 22nd, 2022

Today was the very first sub-contractors meeting. We discussed the project timeline, state approval of building plans, and the most immediate next steps.

 

July 15th, 2022

The cement trucks are lined up and working on internal renovations today. 

August 3rd, 2022

Bi-weekly meeting today, the project is nearly on schedule.

Major internal structure projects (addressing the original early 1900's building basement, floor drain) are close to complete. Footers for the north and west walls are being prepped.

August 22nd, 2022

A little bit of history was revealed today!

 

August 31st, 2022

Footers and the loading dock walls have been poured.  Also, steel header detail was found hiding behind the stucco. 

September 14th, 2022

Many changes in the last two weeks! Footings laid, backfill to foundation, the cleanroom floor was removed then re-poured to include a drain, window headers completely uncovered, and freezer floor being prepped. Today they are working on removing the asphalt parking lot and laying block in the loading dock area. 

September 26th, 2022

Progress!

The west side of the garage wall, next to the loading dock, is going up.

Insulation is being added to the block structure along Gillette Street.

 

October 5th, 2022

Big changes in just over a week!

The east wall of the garage is halfway done.

Plumbing has been run to the Nutrition Education space. 

There are skeleton structures where the cleanroom, storage, and bathrooms are being added. 

EFIS, Exterior Insulation and Finish System, is a general class of non-load bearing building cladding systems that provides exterior walls with an insulated, water-resistant, finished surface in an integrated composite material system. EIFA is being added to the block structure along Gillette Street and into the alley.



The drive-thru windows have been opened up.

    

 

October 12th, 2022

The addition on the north side of the building is progressing. Garage walls are up. This view is taken from the Gillette St side of the building looking through what will be the lobby. 

Cooler and freezer floors are being prepped. The earth under the floor requires specific density and moisture levels before installation. 

November 2nd, 2022

Campaign Kickoff Day

Board President, Taylor Haley, kicked off the fundraising campaign by inviting the greater community at large to be part of "Building Capacity, Hope, and Dignity". Architect renderings were on display to highlight a portion of the new facility. If you would like to contribute to the project you can either make a donation or contact the campaign team via email at capitalcampaign@waferlacrosse.org.

November 9th, 2022

Construction Meeting Day

The project is behind schedule.

A portion of the alley near the drive-thru area was being poured this morning. 

 The masons will be wrapping up soon since there is only a small portion left to construct where the new structure joins up to the existing structure. Then the new construction will be ready to enclose and begin pouring interior slabs.

Framing for the classroom is underway. 

 

November 14th, 2022

Trusses and Landscaping Today

The steel arrived last week. A crane was on site to remove old equipment and play the new construction trusses. 

Western Technical School students in the horticulture and human services programs put in 3 hours of physical labor to get landscaping done along the north and northwest side of the parking lot. The students added dirt, planted a variety of plants, trees, and shrubs, and mulched the entire area. 

 

November 23rd, 2022

Today was the bi-weekly construction update meeting.
 
In the last two weeks there have been many change:
1. concrete poured for curbing, sidewalk, freezer slab, and an internal pantry transition.
2. beginning restoration on brick to include raking and caulk removal.
3. metal joists and some decking installed in the office/lobby area.

The original corner door which had been closed up with glass block has been reopened. During walk-throughs we used that original 1900's opening to get outside. The threshold is well worn from the many who have passed through that door. Notice the curvature of the sill on the left third of the stone.