By Vilas News-Review, Posted on December 7, 2022

The Phelps Land O’ Lakes Lions Club recently donated $500 to the Warm the Children Program. Pictured above from left to right is program representative Chris Boone, and Lions Rollie Alger, Steve Chandler and Brian Blank. —Photo By Sharon Gifford

The holiday season is the perfect opportunity for individuals and groups to give back to those in need in the North Woods.

Local service groups in and around the Eagle River area continue to work hard to help support the less fortunate during the winter months.

Residents interested in contributing to charitable service groups have several opportunities to do so through programs sponsored by local businesses, banks, churches and area schools throughout the community.

Warm The Children

The Vilas County News- Review is conducting its annual Warm The Children program through which new winter clothing and boots are purchased for qualifying area children.

The program helps to provide warmth for approximately 500 children each year and would not be possible without the generosity of time and money from area residents, organizations and businesses.

Using the coupon in the newspaper, donations may be sent to the News-Review at P.O. Box 1929, Eagle River, WI 54521 or taken to the newspaper office, at 425 W. Mill St. in Eagle River. Checks should be made out to “Warm The Children.” Donations can be done online at on the homepage.

Glik’s in Eagle River and Northland Clothing Co. in Three Lakes supports Warm The Children by offering special discounts on all regularly priced clothing for families in the program.

Food pantry help

Local grocery stores put out bins year-round to collect donations for the Vilas Food Pantry including Trig’s and Pick ‘n Save in Eagle River, and Sentry Foods in St. Germain.

Vilas Food Pantry is open to the public the first and third Tuesdays of the month, from 3 to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Families can visit twice per month.

For information on the Vilas Food Pantry, call Director Sandy Weber at 715-479-9581.

Feed Our Rural Kids

Nonprofit organizations like Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK), depend on the donations they receive.

The expansion of FORK nutritional support programs has allowed for the creation of the Children’s Pantry program within the elementary schools located in Eagle River, St. Germain, Land O’ Lakes and Phelps.

FORK is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission of providing nutritional support to children from food insecure homes across central and eastern Vilas County. Currently, FORK manages five programs including Meals Now, Jumpstart, Formula Support, FORK Cares, and the four Children’s Pantry locations. Additionally, Feed Our Rural Kids Inc. depends on the Tomorrow’s Kids Endowment Fund for both current and future funding.

Individuals can learn more about the various programming and/or make an online gift at Checks can be mailed to either Feed Our Rural Kids or to the Tomorrow’s Kids Endowment Fund at: 4887 Echo Ridge Dr., Eagle River, WI 54521.

Toy Program

The Salvation Army and Northland Pines National Honor Society is sponsoring its annual Christmas toy giveaway to help provide new toys for area children ages newborn to 18 years old.

Shoppers can pick up a “Share-a-Heart” tag and drop off new, unwrapped toys by Thursday, Dec. 9, at one of the participating drop-off locations.

Eagle River business drop off locations include Aspirus Eagle River Memorial Hospital, Aspirus Health Care Clinic, Auto Value of Eagle River, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Eagle Craft & Hobby, Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, Grandma’s Toy Box, Health in Motion, Marshfield Clinic, Northwoods Children’s Museum, Olson Memorial Library, Northern Glass, Tile and Stone, Parsons of Eagle River, Pick ‘n Save, Trig’s, Walgreens, Walkabout Paddle and Apparel, Associated Bank, Great North Bank of Eagle River, Incredible Bank, Nicolet National Bank, Peoples State Bank, RIPCO Credit Union and US Bank.

Church and school drop off locations in Eagle River include Abundant Life Church, Pioneer Lake Lutheran Church, St. Mary’s of the Snow Anglican Church, Eagle River Elementary School, Northland Pines Middle and High School, Northland Pines SOAR Charter High School and Northland Pines Wellness Center.

Surrounding area drop off locations include Conover Chamber of Commerce, Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes, Land O’Lakes Public Library and Northland Pines SOAR Charter Middle School in Land O’Lakes and Plum Lake Library in Sayner. St. Germain has three drop off locations available; the St. Germain Home Town Pharmacy, St. Germain Evangelical Free Church and Northland Pines Montessori School.

Last year, the program served approximately 300 children and this year’s number is anticipated to be higher.

“For many children, these are the only toys they get,” commented Kathy Holtorp, program organizer. “It is important for us to help the less fortunate so that every child has a magical Christmas.”

Financial donation checks, with “toys” in the memo area, may be mailed to: The Salvation Army – Vilas County, Attention: Toy Program, P.O. Box 1226, Eagle River, WI 54521.

For more information, visit or contact Kathy Holtorp at 715-617-2179 or

Red Kettle Campaign

The Vilas County-Three Lakes Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign also is underway in need of volunteer help.

This campaign is an annual fundraiser and a source of emergency assistance funding that is provided to area residents. Volunteer bell ringers are essential to the continued ability to assist those less fortunate in North Woods communities.

Many kettles are available to make donations at, including Trig’s Eagle River, Pick n’ Save or Nelsons Ace Hardware. Volunteers can sign up at

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