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FORK extends reach, using endowment fund to support local food organizations


Feed Our Rural Kids, or FORK, is once again broadening its reach.

The organization currently partners with the Northland Pines, Phelps and Three Lakes school districts to address the issue of child food insecurity.

But it recently announced plans to expand.

Instead of working within selected school districts, FORK will provide financial support to existing food organizations in Vilas and Oneida counties using its endowment fund.

Really, what we’re going to look like, and I say this with the greatest degree of respect, is the Northwoods United Way for food,” says FORK President Perry Pokrandt. “We are going to provide that kind of support to other organizations, just like we’ve received that help from United Way.”

The organization is renaming its Tomorrow’s Kids Endowment Fund to the FORK Endowment Fund to reflect the change.

FORK is in the midst of a four-year fundraiser to raise a million dollars for that endowment fund.

Pokrandt says the idea is to invest the fund’s money, so there will always be a reliable source of funding to address food insecurity locally.

We know that as people continue to contribute to the endowment, there will be more and more and more money over time, and throughout time, that will always be there to support these efforts,” he says. “We think that’s the best direction for our organization.”

FORK is currently working on projects to connect local food organizations and establish one-stop resources for people who need help.

Pokrandt says these resources are needed because food insecurity affects many families in the Northwoods.

“Nine out of 10 of counties with highest levels of food insecurity are rural,” he says. “If that doesn’t describe us, then nothing does.”

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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