Feed Our Rural Kids Inc., (FORK) has issued a $5,000 matching grant challenge to the Northland Pines High School boys and girls cross-country teams in support of their effort to fund The Locker — a nutritional support program in the Northland Pines School District. 

“Kids helping kids, that is an important part of the vision that created FORK,” said FORK President Perry Pokrandt.

The Locker is an in-school food pantry that is coordinated and funded by Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Eagle River, along with the generosity from local community businesses and organizations. 

It provides middle through high school students with on-the-go food items, as well as fresh refrigerated items to provide that little something extra needed by growing middle school and high school students. The Locker also provides personal care items, school supplies, and limited clothing.

“Last week, the Pines cross-country teams collected food items for The Locker and our efforts caught the attention of the FORK Board of Directors,” explained Natalie Fluegel, captain of the girls varsity team.

“They challenged the members of the cross-country teams to do more, extending to us a $5,000 Locker challenge as a matching grant for funds that we raise for The Locker program in the middle and high school,” said Francis Milanowski, captain of the boys varsity team. “We told them we were all in.” 

“So, starting today, at our home meet, the hard work of holding up our end of the challenge starts,” said Fluegel.

“FORK has extended a promise to match every dollar the cross-country team raises for The Locker program between today and Oct. 22,” explained Scott Foster, FORK vice president and Northland Pines District Administrator. “Those dollars will come from the students and from the community.”

The Locker currently serves approximately 60 students with those numbers going up under the economic pressures placed by the pandemic. The hope is that the budget for the program can be met for 2020-’21 through this challenge which could potentially reach $10,000.

Pastor Andrea Fluegel of Prince of Peace is coordinator of The Locker program and also a member of the FORK board of directors.

“Part of our long-range plan for FORK is to engage in efforts that support and enhance other nutritional support programs within our community that target and benefit children; infant through 12th grade,” Fluegel explained. “This challenge is just one of the many ways we have discussed making a difference in the lives of children from food insecure homes.”

“We invite the community to support Northland Pines boys and girls cross-country teams in this effort,” said Pokrandt.

Individuals wanting to help the Northland Pines cross-country teams to fully collect on this challenge, make a check out to “$5,000 Locker Challenge” and mail it to: Northland Pines Middle and High School Office, Attention: $5,000 Locker Challenge, 1800 Pleasure Island Road, Eagle River WI 54521; or donors can go online at feedourruralkids.org/

lockerchallenge to donate by credit or debit card.

All donations are legally tax deductible under 2020 tax law as FORK is a registered 501(c)(3).