PrimeTimers learn about local food insecurity issues

By Vilas News-Review, Posted on September 19, 2023

Feed Our Rural Kids board member Rick Miech talks to the club about food insecurity. —Photos By Jacki Goebel

The St. Germain PrimeTimers invited Rick Miech, board member from Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK), to speak to the group at the last membership meeting. He spoke about the FORK program and food insecurity.

The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. This can be a temporary situation for a family or can last a long time.

Miech stated, “The brain needs nutritional support to function and develop.”

According to Miech, food insecurity can have a wide impact, depending on someone’s circumstances. Food insecurity can make it more difficult for a child to learn and grow.

According to Psychology Today, studies into food insecurity increased the chance of mood, anxiety, behavior and substance use disorders in teenagers.

Food insecurity leads to behavioral and academic problems among youth, and may exacerbate issues like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity. In early childhood, it is associated with poor health, chronic illness, and special needs.

Food insecurity can cause serious health issues when people must choose between spending money on food and medicine or health care. Food insecurity can lead to difficult decisions like choosing between food and rent, bills and transportation.

The mission of FORK is to provide nutritional support to children from food insecure homes within the Northland Pines, Three Lakes, and Phelps School Districts.

A Family Food Helpline has been established to assist area residents who need support. The confidential phone number is 1-888-479-FORK (3675).

FORK has eight pantries located around the North Woods. These pantries are lockers that are accessible to students. One pantry is in St. Germain and located at the community center.

Previously the pantry was in the St. Germain Elementary School, but was moved for the summer. Miech was unsure if the pantry would return to the school or remain at the center.

One PrimeTimer member asked Miech about how he measured the success of FORK, to which he answered, “By the fact that people are utilizing us.”

For more information about FORK and the pantries, visit

To learn more about the PrimeTimers group, visit

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