By Vilas News-Review, Posted on January 17, 2023

Hope in a Backpack Director Jane Lipp recently received 1,000 Hormel Completes meals for Lakeland area children from the FORK Endowment Fund. Taking part in the donation are, from left, FORK Endowment Committee Chairman Nic Wieght, Lipp, FORK Endowment Fund Committee member Adam Redman, and FORK President Perry Pokrandt. —Contributed Photo

The Lakeland area’s Hope in a Backpack program recently received the first Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) Endowment Fund gift of 2023.

“We are excited to be working with FORK to help feed elementary school-aged children across the Lakeland area,” said Hope in a Backpack Director Jane Lipp. “We appreciate this gift of 1,000 Hormel Completes meals to Lakeland area children and look forward to working with FORK in the future.”

The Hope in a Backpack program was started in 2016 and currently serves approximately 120 children a week during the school year.

“The mission of Ascension and Calvary Lutheran Churches’ Hope in a Backpack program is to address the issue of hunger among the children in our community,” explained Lipp. “We accomplish this by providing school-aged children backpacks filled with food items for breakfast, lunch and snacks for weekends during the school year.”

Hope in a Backpack seemed like an obvious pairing with FORK, whose mission is to provide nutritional support to children from food-insecure homes across Vilas and Oneida counties.

“One of the ways we look to accomplish our mission is through a FORK Endowment Fund gift of financial or food support,” explained FORK Endowment Fund Committee Chairman Nic Weight. “We provide these gifts to organizations whose purpose, like FORK, is to provide food to children.”

In addition to the FORK Endowment Fund, FORK also manages five of its own nutritional support programs directly serving children within the Northland Pines, Three Lakes and Phelps school districts. They also support and manage FORK’s Family Food Helpline, 888-479-FORK (3676), in partnership with the Oneida and Vilas County departments of Social Services.

“Our support of the Hope in a Backpack program within the Lakeland area is important to so many children and their families,” said Weight. “With that thought in mind, we urge individuals who currently are financially supporting the Hope in a Backpack program to continue to do so, as so many local children depend on their program.

“If you find yourself with additional funds or a personal passion for helping feed the children across Vilas and Oneida counties, please consider donating to FORK or the FORK Endowment Fund online at,” Weight added.

Individuals can donate to Hope in a Backpack by sending a check to: Ascension Lutheran Church, 7937 Highway 51, Minocqua, WI 54548. Checks should be made out to “Ascension Lutheran Church” with “Hope in a Backpack” on the memo line.

Donations to Hope in a Backpack and FORK are tax-deductible under Wisconsin and U.S. tax law.

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