‘Joy of Sharing’ supports La Crosse area nonprofits in its second year

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) — News 8 Now, in partnership with Festival Foods and Castle Realty, held its second annual “Joy of Sharing” event Friday in Onalaska.

As of Friday evening, about 2,500 pounds of food, 800 toys and $18,000 were collected to benefit the Salvation Army, Hunger Task Force, and Toys for Tots in the La Crosse area.

“We have so many people that have given today, I just can’t believe it. They just keep coming and coming and they just want to keep giving,” said Alan Iverson, the broker and owner of Castle Realty. “This is the time of year to do it, we have so much to be thankful for.”

Events like these help address the area’s needs in a thoughtful way.

“You know, none of us as nonprofits helping the community can do it on our own,” said Shelly Fortner, the executive director of the Hunger Task Force. “We need the help of the community and people who are generous.”

Everything collected goes right back into the community. Volunteers said they weren’t surprised at the overwhelming community response, but felt proud to be a part of it.

“It shows that the La Crosse area really sets itself apart from others, especially in the Midwest. We are a truly special place,” said Neal Zygarlicke, the CEO of the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce.

And this is something donors feel good about.

“Hopefully it will help somebody who doesn’t have what we have. It’s a good feeling,” said Sue Janney, after donating toys.

Last year’s inaugural “Joy of Sharing” event raised nearly $24,000, 4,500 pounds of food and more than 1,300 toys.

The final totals for this year’s event should be available early next week.