The mission for Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) has been, from the beginning, to provide nutritional support to school-aged children from food-insecure homes within the Northland Pines School District.

A new program, FORK Cares, will reach out to children to provide incremental nutritional support during the isolating summer vacation months, according to FORK President Perry Pokrandt.

“Through this new program, children whose families qualify for free school meals during the school year will have the opportunity to have Fork care packages delivered directly to their homes,” said Pokrandt.

He said the months of June, July and August can be a food desert for many children.

 “Gone for those kids, in the summer, is the basic nutrition provided by the guaranteed 10 meals a week through the school district,” said Pokrandt.

Not gone, but limited during this time frame, are the weekend backpacks available to elementary school-aged children through a partnership among several local churches, individuals and businesses as well as the Northland Pines School District. 

During the summer months, the children are not in school to pick up the backpacks of food weekly, so obtaining that food is not always possible for many families. 

“The FORK Cares program will work toward filling the nutritional needs of children during the summer period while addressing logistical issues related to obtaining food not present for families during the school year,” said Pokrandt.

The summertime challenge around food insecurity is larger for middle- and high school-aged children as their source of nutritional support, the Locker Program, is totally closed down during the summer recess.

The FORK Cares program will address these challenges, to a degree, for the children who participate, according to Pokrandt.

The FORK Cares package will consist of 10 to 12 supplemental meals and be delivered once a month directly to the child’s home address. 

“We know that amount of food is not enough to make up for the loss of the school year nutritional support programs, but it is a start,” said board member and FORK Cares Chairman Deacon Rich Miech.

“In our first year, we will work to register 150 children for this support effort. We know that number doesn’t represent all the kids who need extra help, but we are confident that we can raise the money needed to fully fund FORK Cares for that many children,” said Miech. “It is important to deliver on this promise to those kids in need.”

Miech said individuals who would like to participate financially can visit feedourruralkids.org. Donations can be made via cash transfer through PayPal® or via credit or debit card. Of course, checks are welcome and can be mailed to Feed Our Rural Kids Inc. at 4887 Echo Ridge Drive, Eagle River, WI 54521.

“As the date for food delivery draws near, FORK will seek community-minded individuals to volunteer to make this support program a reality,” said Pokrandt. “Individuals wishing to volunteer for this effort can register at feedourruralkids.org or call me at (715) 410-8167.”

FORK is a registered 501(c)(3), so financial contributions will be tax-deductible to the maximum extent in Wisconsin and U.S. tax law.