Posted by Bob Buck on Jan 18, 2023
At the January 18th meeting, the Holmen Area Rotary Club presented Craig Coe, Executive Director of Holmen's Hope with a check for $2000 to help support their efforts. Holmen’s Hope is a non profit, non-denominational organization established by like minded community members with a desire to serve our community. Their main focus to date has been to alleviate child hunger in the Holmen area.
Craig went on to discuss what their organization has been up to. One would think that Holmen is affluent enough to not have kids going hungry but scratch the surface and it is surprising what you will find. Holmen's Hope had 3 very active projects pre-covid, the Summer Lunch Program, the Friday Backpack Program and the Community Dinner. The Summer Lunch Program consisted of providing sack lunches to three different locations in Holmen during the summer weeks while kids were out of school. The Backpack Program works with the School District of Holmen, who identify at risk students in the Elementary Schools and Middle School. Holmen's Hope then provides food items individually packaged to go into a student's backpack. The schools recieve and distribute the food items in a way to assure student confidentiality. Each package contains nutricious, easy to prepare food items that gives the students something to eat over the weekend. The Community Dinner was a monthly free dinner held at the Holmen American Legion. Local organizations, churches and businesses would sponsor a month, providing the dinner and labor necessary to pull it off. Pre-covid the dinner would attract over 200 folks looking for a hot meal and fellowship. Arrangements were made with the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse to bring a truck full of food items down that dinner patrons could take home with them. Unfortunately, covid put everything on pause.
Holmen's Hope started things back up this past summer by re-starting the Summer Lunch program three days a week at three locations. And it restarted the Friday Backpack program at the beginning of the school year, starting with 30 kids which has now grown to 70 kids. They are looking to restart the Community Dinner program but the Legion is no longer available, and a suitable venue has not yet been secured.
How you can help- The Backpack Program costs approximately $200/year/child. Donations of food items reduces this burden. When donated food items run out, money is needed to buy what is required. Since the backpack packages need to contain items that are easy to prepare and have a certain nutritional value there is a list of desired food items that can usually be found on the Holmen's Hope FB Page. Items can be dropped off at the Coulee Life Church entrance Mon-Fri.
Or you can just come and eat Chili at the Holmen's Hope Chili Cook-off competition on Saturday Feb 4th at the Legion!
Thanks Craig! It is people like you and at Holmen's Hope that work hard to make Holmen a very special place to live