By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — The Mounder Meals Match Challenge will be accepting donations through October 31 to benefit children in the Elk Mound school district to provide weekend meals.
There are no income qualifications for participation in the Mounder Meals program, said Lisa Strom, program coordinator.
Any family that needs extra food to make it through the weekend can sign up for the program at Mound View Elementary, she said.
The weekend meals consist of two breakfasts, two snacks and two lunches, Strom said.
“We try to include fruit when it is available. We package the meals on Thursday evenings and drop them off at the school on Friday afternoons,” she said.
The Mounder Meals Match Challenge is being run in conjunction with the Feed My People Foodbank.
“Now through the end of the month, for every dollar donated we will receive a pound of food free! This match challenge is the best time for anyone to make a donation to our program,” Strom said.
“We weigh our bags every week, and on average, the bags weigh four pounds. If you donate $5 to our program, a typical bag costs roughly $1.75. We can purchase three bags with your $5 typically. If you donate now while we are running this match, we can get four bags with that same $5. This will stretch our dollars out a lot,” Strom said.
This is the first year that Mounder Meals volunteers are packaging the food themselves.
“We have had a lot of community interest so far. The Boy Scouts have arranged to help us, college students, high school students and local church members. The high school students distribute the meals on Friday afternoon,” she said.
The meals are packaged at Shepherd of the Hill Lutheran Church in Elk Mound on Thursday evenings.
“Shepherd of the Hill also houses our local food pantry, and the location is very ideal,” Strom said.
Even though this is the first year for volunteers to package the food themselves, it is actually the second year for the Mounder Meals program.
“The first year, we partnered with Stepping Stones (in Menomonie). They provided the meals, and we were more of a delivery service. We learned from them on how the bags should be packed. The goal was always for us to do this on our own this year,” Strom said.
Lisa Hinnenkamp, a teacher at Mound View Elementary, had wanted to do a weekend food program for years, she noted.
“Shepherd of the Hill had extra money in (the church’s ) Good Samaritan fund to help get this started. Stepping Stones got us started and gave us time to get some extra funding to get our program going. Also, Sue Suechting through Shepherd of the Hill played a big role in setting things up and keeping us all organized,” Strom said.
The Mounder Meals program is “a gift for the students every Friday. I am so glad that our community is stepping up to help provide for them and their families as unfortunately, there are a lot of gaps in assisting some of these families to have enough food,” she said.
If you would like to donate to the Mounder Meals Challenge, checks can be made payable to Shepherd of Hill. In the memo line write “Mounder Meals Match Challenge.”
Send your check to Shepherd of the Hill; 207 University Street; Elk Mound WI 54739.