USDA, FORK Partner to Provide 1,200 Boxes of Food to Community

By Vilas County News-Review, Posted on October 20, 2020

Sherri Congleton, left, Vilas County emergency management director, and Perry Pokrandt, president of Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) Inc., helped prepare boxes for the food distribution in St. Germain last Friday. —Photos By Wally Geist

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Distribution, in partnership with Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) and help from area volunteers, distributed 1,200 30-pound boxes filled with produce, dairy and meat products to community members last Friday at the St. Germain Community Park parking lot.

Volunteers arrived ahead of the noon distribution time to remove all 1,200 boxes from a semi in the park and arrange them in the parking lot to load into vehicles’ trunks. The drive-thru event was contact-free, and attendees did not leave their vehicle while receiving the food.

Removing 1,200 30-pound boxes of food and a like number of gallons of milk was a massive task, but help from the town of St. Germain made the task less daunting.

According to Sherri Congleton, Vilas County Emergency Management director, the event was well-organized and went smoother than anticipated despite the large numbers of vehicles expected to attend. She said she had many volunteers to help out. All the boxes were distributed by about 4 p.m.

The program offered food boxes to anyone who wanted them and was the result of a USDA partnership with farmers, ranchers, specialty crop producers, food processors and distributors. The Farmers to Families program also partners with local faith-based organizations, schools and media outlets to make the public aware of this free access to food during the COVID-19 national emergency.

FORK was asked to assist in organizing the distribution. Perry Pokrandt, FORK president, said that any of the food reaching children helps the organization achieve its mission. No information was collected from recipients and many asked for and received more than one box because they were helping neighbors who were unable to come to the distribution themselves.

Congleton received a phone call Oct. 12 asking if the county would be interested in hosting the distribution. She then reached out to FORK for organizational assistance. The food boxes were available on a first come, first-served basis.

A second distribution in the St. Germain Community Park will be held this Friday, Oct. 23, from noon to 5 p.m. or until supplies run out. (See related story).

For information, call Congleton at the Vilas County Courthouse at (715) 479-3690.

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