Food Insecurity Is Nothing New

By Letter to the Editor from Vilas County News-Review, Posted on December 17, 2019

Letter to the Editor:

Food insecurity is nothing new. In fact, in 1843 it was Charles Dickens who introduced us to the Cratchit family, the world’s most famous food insecure family, in his classic novel “A Christmas Carol.”

Many see the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge as the take away from that story. Yet, at the story’s heart was the Cratchit family, who despite their economic challenges, lived in a home filled with and sustained by love for one another.

As a lifetime educator within the Northland Pines School District, I witnessed families very much like the Cratchits — homes filled with love, but not always enough to eat.

“A Christmas Carol” and other Dickens stories remind us that kindness, generosity and compassion are the values we should honor most. I’m sure we all remember Scrooge’s night time visit by the Ghost of Christmas Present, who appeared to Scrooge on a throne of food. Still today, he serves as a symbol of the Christmas ideal — generosity, goodwill and celebration.

Dickens often used his characters to demonstrate the disparity between social classes, and the hardships suffered by the poor. Many of his characters were typically children; presumably that was because children are most dependent upon others for survival, especially when they come from economically challenged families.

None of us will ever forget Tiny Tim, who is for many, the most memorable of Dicken’s young characters. “God bless us, every one!” is certainly a celebration of the human spirit. It shows that in the face of adversity lives the positive light of hope.

As my husband first considered the idea of forming the nonprofit organization, Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK), he reached out to people in our community already working on the larger issue of community-wide hunger and more specifically childhood food insecurity. He found himself time and time again saying, “I didn’t realize.”

As he and I discussed the effects of the food insecurity issue within the Northland Pines School District, the initial plans for FORK were laid. Like Scrooge, whose eyes were opened to his own ignorance of the world around him by his three ghostly visitors, Perry came to realize that the creation of FORK would be another way to make a difference for the kids, for the community, and for our society as a whole.

That is what FORK is doing as they move forward with the FORK Cares program. It is a program that will nutritionally support children during the challenging time of summer break.

Not all of us have the ability of an Ebenezer Scrooge to buy the largest goose at the butcher shop as a symbol of our generosity. But many of us have the ability, this Christmas, to make a small difference in the lives of the children of our communities. This can be done by making a donation to help feed our rural kids.

Please consider going to and making a donation to our FORK Cares project. $3.55 will cover the cost of one meal for one child. Giving is not just about making a donation, it is about making a difference.

Merry Christmas

Becky Pokrandt
Eagle River

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