Candy machines to support FORK’s Family Food Helpline

By Vilas News-Review, Posted on August 15, 2023

A new candy vending machine to benefit FORK’s food helpline has been placed at Nicolet National Bank in Eagle River. Displaying the machine are, from left, Danielle Mazur, branch manager; Cherie Winquist, owner of Star Lake Vending which provides the vending machines; and FORK President Perry Pokrandt. —Contributed Photo

Children of all ages love candy, and, starting now, that collective love of something sweet is going to help Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) continue to support food insecure families across Vilas and Oneida counties.

“Our fight against food insecurity across our North Woods communities requires sources of long-term funding,” explained FORK President Perry Pokrandt. “To that end, FORK has entered into a collaborative partnership with local business woman, Cherie Winquist, owner of Star Lake Vending. Together we will distribute old-fashioned stand-alone candy vending machines across Vilas and Oneida counties, with a portion of the proceeds to fund FORK’s Family Food Helpline.”

The Family Food Helpline is a partnership between FORK and both the Vilas and Oneida County Departments of Social Services. This partnership provides food insecure households a go-to resource to find help in times of crisis.

“The helpline is where you call when you don’t know who to call,” continued Pokrandt. “For help, just dial 888-479-FORK (3675).”

The first placement of a FORK candy machine was at Nicolet National Bank on Wall Street in Eagle River during their grand opening event held last week.

Danielle Mazur, branch manager of the Nicolet National Bank of Eagle River, explained why the bank joined this effort.

“We felt that our donation of 1-square-foot of floor space, to help food insecure families find the help they need, was an excellent way for our bank to make the North Woods a better place to live for everyone,” Mazur said.

FORK is asking for area businesses to consider hosting a machine at their location. Businesses interested in allowing the placement of a stand-alone candy vending machine can call Cherie Winquist at 715-891-9093 or Perry Pokrandt at 715-410-8167.

Over the coming months, Winquist will stop by area businesses to talk about their opportunity for them to help FORK with this effort.

Feed Our Rural Kids is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

To learn more, visit

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