Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) Inc., has added another opportunity to meet the hunger needs of area children, according to FORK President Perry Pokrandt.

“When we first conceptualized FORK as an organization, the board had to make the hard decision to focus on school-aged children,” explained Pokrandt. “This meant that we were making a decision, at the time, to not meet the needs of children ages birth to four years of age. We are excited to announce the roll out of our newest program, Jump Start, to that end.”

Jump Start is a collaborative effort between the Vilas County Health Department and FORK. The program is administered by Vilas County and funded by FORK.

The program will provide increased levels of fruits and vegetables, fresh, canned or frozen, to families who have registered and qualify for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) support.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer WIC-qualified families, whose economic challenges are the greatest, additional amounts of the highest quality foods,” said Laurel Dreger, director of the Vilas County Health Department.

“To start, we will be targeting 50 families,” said Donna Hiller, Jump Start program chairperson and advisor to the FORK board. “In FORK’s three-year plan, we project to expand this program up to 100 families.”

“Due to the vast differences in economic strata of the families supported through the WIC program, FORK has created Jump Start in order to target those most challenged,” said Pokrandt. “So, Jump Start targets those families whose needs are not fully met by WIC benefits.” 

Families will be registered for this program and continue to receive this benefit as long as their economic situation remains unchanged or their child begins school in the Northland Pines School District.

Individuals who would like to help FORK fund this effort to feed the youngest of area children can donate by credit or debit card online at FeedOurRuralKids.org. Individuals also can make a check out to: Jump Start, 4887 Echo Ridge Dr., Eagle River, WI 5452.

FORK is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization.