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FORK issues $10k matching challenge to support local weekend backpack food program


Families all across Vilas County depend on the weekend backpack program to help feed their kids.

Feed Our Rural Kids is challenging community members to help support the program.

During the week, students can get food at school, but it isn’t always guaranteed when they’re home on the weekends.

“To know what it is to be food insecure to really wake up in the morning and not know where dinner is coming from or lunch or maybe even breakfast,” said Perry Pokrandt President of Feed Our Rural Kids or FORK.

Pokrandt said the backpack program has grown over the years both in the number of churches participating in it and the number of children they’re supporting.

When Prince of Peace in Eagle River started the program only one child was receiving a backpack. Now, they serve around 120 kids.

Shepard of the Lakes Lutheran Church in St. Germain and Faith Lutheran Church in Three Lakes also participate in the program.

Together they’re providing meals to more than 200 children.

Each child is sent home with at least two meals every weekend during the school year.

FORK doesn’t run the backpack program, but Pokrandt says it supports their mission.

“Part of FORK, how we measure our success, is the degree to which we can collaborate with other organizations who are pushing back again food insecurity for kids just like we are, but just with a different program,” he said.

Pokrandt says at $6.00 per assembled backpack it costs more than $40,000 to feed all the children in the program each school year.

To help support the backpack program, FORK is matching up to $10,000 in donations during the Month of May.

“If there wasn’t a need for the backpack program, we wouldn’t be supplementing it with this $10,000 challenge,” said Pokrandt.

You can donate on FORK’s website or send a check.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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