The Children’s Pantry in the Phelps School to assist youths with their nutritional needs has officially opened.

“The expansion of a Children’s Pantry program into the Phelps School District is an important step forward,” said Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) President Perry Pokrandt. 

The opening of the Phelps Children’s Pantry  means that there are now four Children’s Pantry locations, including three locations in Northland Pines Elementary School buildings in Eagle River, Land O Lakes, St. Germain and now in the Phelps School.

“Each of FORK’s Children’s Pantry locations work to meet two objectives,” explained Children’s Pantry Committee Chairperson Jean Arndt. “The first is to provide emergency nutritional support for area children and their families. The second is to provide each school’s educational staff with a nutritional resource to meet the needs of the children in their care.”

“FORK’s commitment to be there when children need food is part of how this program was created. The concept is simple,” said Pokrandt. “The more accessible food is to children, the higher the probability that they will receive the nutritional support they need.”

The program was not designed in any way, to replace the traditional food pantries in the area, according to Pokrandt.

“But each provides a resource for families when traditional food pantry hours or the proximity of their location just doesn’t work to meet a family’s needs,” said Pokrandt.

Each pantry is accessible anytime school buildings are open.

To this point, each Children’s Pantry location is open to families as a resource to meet short-term nutritional challenges.

“In other words,” Arndt added, “if a family needs help feeding their kids, the pantry is open to them for dinner that night or lunch over the weekend.”

The program is also a resource for each school’s educators and the educational staff, providing aid to hungry children during the school day and beyond if necessary. To that end, FORK is providing area educators another tool by which they can support the children.

“This program will be a difference maker to many local children and their families,” said Jason Pertile, director of student services in the Phelps School District. “And we are also excited to see how our staff wraps its arms around this educational support tool.”

Individuals who would like to get more information about how they can utilize FORK’s Children’s Pantry as a resource in their area, can reach out to the Northland Pines Elementary School resource person Katie Stuckemeyer at (715) 479-8989, ext.  4528.

The Phelps School District resource person is Jason Pertile, who can be contacted at (715) 545-2724, ext. 115. Arndt can be contacted at (309) 647-0474.

To learn more about FORK and the new Children’s Pantry program, visit feedourruralkids.org.

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