It’s a significant development when a group discovers more than 200 youths in a school district are challenged by hunger. It’s an even bigger triumph when they put together a viable plan, and a new nonprofit organization to help rectify that food insecurity issue.

Today we introduce the all-new Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) organization, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that recently formed to deal with childhood hunger issues in the Northland Pines School District (NPSD).

Despite the fact that the district and county are served by great food pantries, government-funded assistance programs, school meal programs and churches that provide backpacks to supplement family food on the weekends, the group says that hundreds of kids from impoverished families aren’t getting the help they need.

It is estimated that 22 percent of the children in Vilas County live in poverty and that many are not getting the wholesome foods and nutrition they need to succeed — too many aren’t taking advantage of the programs.

“The money we raise will hopefully triple the number of kids reached by the pantry and backpacks,” said Perry Pokrandt, president of the new organization. 

The group’s biggest challenge will be tapping local sources to raise the needed funds, including community-minded individuals, businesses and organizations that see the challenge and rise to the occasion.

NPSD Administrator Scott Foster, vice-president of FORK, said he’s witnessed childhood hunger in the classroom during his 20-plus years as an educator. Foster is one of many community leaders who helped form the new organization.

The new effort will not be without its challenges, for communities in the NPSD are already raising funds for many other worthwhile causes. Yet there always seems to be room for more good causes in this land of generous, caring people.

Not only does the new organization need to focus funding on this issue, but they need to address the obstacles that are currently preventing hundreds of children from getting the nutritious food their bodies require. We wish them the best and pledge our support as well.

America’s workforce is central to its success

As another Labor Day slips by some 125 years after the holiday began, we’d like to honor all hard-working Americans and bring attention to the significant contributions they make to the business world and society on a daily basis.

As much as we need great business minds, leaders and investors, we also rely heavily on a talented, dedicated workforce to make this capitalism-based country succeed. And that won’t happen without a strong economy — a system based to a great degree on the spending habits and support of the American worker.

Today we recognize the great strides and sacrifices that have been made, mostly at bargaining tables, in the fight for fair, safe and equitable treatment in the workplace.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

  Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and reporters Doug Etten and Michelle Drew.