ONLY ON WEAU: Hunger Task Force tightens authority on food pantries

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LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU)-The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse has started issuing new contract agreements for the food pantries in the area, and some feel that the program is overstepping its bounds.

When food pantry coordinator Keith Baker got the contract agreement he immediately had some issues with it. Baker’s two main concerns were that the contract stated he should have him pantry open at least two days a week, and that he must have a staff member who can communicate with those who can’t speak English.

“I find some of these things unacceptable. I can’t do them I’m one guy and I am already working 5 days a week volunteering. I just don’t have the time,” said Baker.

After explaining his problems with Hunger Task Force Executive Director Shelly Krause she agreed to work with Baker to amend the contract agreement to better fit his pantry.

“This agreement is not one size fits all, and all of us working together is important,” said Krause.

Krause says they created the agreement to help bring better structure to the current food distribution program. She believes that without more direction pantries will focus on the number of people the feed and not on making sure the food is getting to the people where and when they need it.

“We need to be good stewards with the task given to us and make sure that our programs are doing well too,” said Krause.

1st Free Church is the only pantry so far that has decided to stop working with the Hunger Task Force and not sign the contract agreement. The pastor of the church did not want to talk with us on camera, but said that they are looking to their congregation to fill their pantry shelves.

Baker says that his pantry doesn’t have the luxury of being able to rely on the churches attendants. He must rely on Hunger Task Force no matter what the contract says.

Krause says she’ll be willing to negotiate with all other pantries at the quarterly meeting later this month.

“We are attempting to answer the questions, and work with it. That’s why it’s a workable agreement, so the programs aren’t finding this difficult to work with,” said Krause.

Krause also mentioned that she willing to negotiate with 1st Free Church if they wanted to start back up with the Hunger Task Force.