Dried and canned goods were included in the prepackaged boxes to be distributed to families. Meat, breads and some other refrigerated goods also are available to those who stop in to the Vilas Food Pantry.
Dried and canned goods were included in the prepackaged boxes to be distributed to families. Meat, breads and some other refrigerated goods also are available to those who stop in to the Vilas Food Pantry.
The Vilas Food Pantry is partnering with Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) Inc., in the creation of an innovative program to invite new families to visit the food pantry. 

The goal is to provide a greater level of stability for families and their children from food insecure homes, according to the program leaders.

“This new program, referred to as the Pantry’s Helping Hand, is an effort to break down perceived misconceptions felt by families not familiar with the level of support available to them at the Vilas Food Pantry,” said Vilas Food Pantry President Jackie Coghlan. 

The invitation will consist of two monthly food deliveries directly to the homes of families currently receiving support through the FORK Cares program.

“Families participating in the FORK Cares program qualify for the Pantry’s Helping Hand through the school district and the eligibility guidelines of the food pantry,” explained Coghlan.

“As I have explained in previous News Review articles, FORK exists to help fill in the gaps between the specific needs of the children and the current program help that is available,” said Perry Pokrandt, president of FORK.

“Since the very creation of FORK, our board of directors has had ongoing discussions around the challenge of connecting those families with nutritional needs with the help that is available within our community,” said Pokrandt.

“This type of collaborative effort is a natural fit because Perry and I are on the board of directors for both organizations,” said Coghlan. “With FORK willing to help fund the Pantry’s Helping Hand effort, the decision to extend this hand was simple.”

“FORK is excited to take this first collaborative step with the Vilas Food Pantry,” added Pokrandt. “If we are successful, the pantry will be servicing a few more families each month. Of course, the pantry will then look to the community for a bit of additional support around the ongoing cost of providing for those increased needs.”

The plan for the future of the Panty’s Helping Hand will be to provide this sort of invitation again next summer in order to mitigate food insecurity for those families and their children.

“We hope we can continue to expand the pantry by supporting the nutritional needs of more families and thus helping more children,” concluded Coghlan.

Individuals wishing to contribute to the Vilas Food Pantry can mail a check to Vilas Food Pantry, P.O. Box 761, Eagle River, WI 54521. Individuals wishing to support the programs of Feed Our Rural Kids can make their check to FORK, 4887 Echo Ridge Dr., Eagle River, WI 54521.

Individuals looking for more information related to the Vilas Food Pantry can call Vilas Food Pantry Director Sandy Weber at (715) 479-9591.

Both FORK and the Vilas Food Pantry are registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.