Feeding children from food insecure homes is a large job and cannot be done without support of the entire community.

The Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) second annual Cash For Kids fundraiser is an example of what is possible when a community comes together, according to fundraiser Chairman Keith Kentala.

“Once again, the program will be a collaborative effort of all Eagle River financial institutions in support of FORK’s mission,” said Kentala. “Together, with the community’s support, our local financial institutions will work to raise money to underwrite FORK’s five nutritional support programs.” 

The Cash For Kids  fundraiser, running from Aug. 1-31, will provide financial support to these local programs: FORK Cares, Meals Now, Jump Start, Formula Support Program and the all-new children’s pantry. Individuals interested in details of the FORK programs can learn more at feedourruralkids.org.

“Once again, each financial institution has set an individual goal to raise the monetary equivalent of 1,000 meals, or $3,550 per location,” said Kentala. “Unfortunately, last year we did not make our fundraising goal as 2020 was a challenge in so many ways. This year, we hope to meet our organizational needs by raising the necessary funds in support of feeding local children.”

The leaders of four Eagle River financial institutions said they support FORK’s mission for all their own reasons.

“From day one, our staff has seen the necessity of the nutritional support FORK is trying to provide within our community. We back this effort 1,000%,” said Cheryl Olejniczak, branch manager for Associated Bank in Eagle River. “Join us. Stop by the bank anytime in August and help us in this effort.”

“There is power in each of our communities’ financial institutions coming together and speaking with a unified voice,” said Jolene Richey, branch manager for RIPCO Credit Union in Eagle River. “At Ripco, we see the opportunity of working together to make a larger impact for the children.” 

“Having grown up in Eagle River, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges faced by so many,” explained Larry Snedden, vice president of commercial lending at Nicolet North Bank in Eagle River. “We invite our customers to join us, and to join FORK in this effort. 

“Acting in support of this effort is what hometown banking is all about,” said Chelsea Brandt, assistant vice president regional manager for mBank in Eagle River. “We encourage everyone to do what they can to help our local food insecure children.”

FORK President Perry Pokrandt said he’s grateful to the Eagle River financial institutions for standing with FORK to help the organization feed youths in eastern Vilas County.

“We thank the community for their support of our mission to date, and sincerely hope that they join with others in the second annual Cash For Kids fundraiser,” said Pokrandt.

People who would like to join this broad-based community effort can donate by cash or check at any of the Eagle River financial institutions. Individuals can also donate online at feedourruralkids.org/cashforkids.

Checks to fund local food support programs can be mailed to Cash For Kids, 4887 Echo Ridge Dr., Eagle River, WI 54521. Feed Our rural Kids is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.