Lyle’s Lunchbox began as the Lyle Wernimont Memorial Charity in 2017. Lyle was our founder’s father, and the charity was created as a way to continue Lyle’s legacy of feeding the hungry. Following his death from cancer in 2011, we had been coordinating a food and donations drive with Mile Bluff Medical Center, the hospital where Lyle worked for over 20 years, and the Community Sharing Food Pantry in Mauston, WI, where he volunteered. In 2017, we learned that for children who receive free/reduced breakfast and lunch at school, winter break often meant going home to empty cabinets and hunger. Already struggling to feed them, their parents were facing the impossible task of providing two more meals, plus snacks, each day the children weren’t in school; and this at the end of the month when budgets are desperately tight. Students were often going hungry.
We knew we had to do something, and thus, the Lyle Wernimont Memorial Charity was born. That first winter break, we provided boxes containing 12 meals plus snacks and drinks to each of 300 students – a total of 3,600 meals!