Food pantry provides weekend food for Rhinelander kids
For the Star Journal
RHINELANDER – The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry is once again providing backpacks of food for Rhinelander school kids. The Weekend Food for Kids program, a partnership between the RAFP and School District of Rhinelander, kicks off its fourteenth year Sept. 28.
“Sometimes families just need a little extra help, said Jackie Popko, WFFK coordinator. “The Weekend Food for Kids Program is designed to support students with extra nutrition over the weekend throughout the school year. Registration is as simple as completing a form and returning it to the student’s school secretary or counselor.”
WFFK is open to all students in the SDR and does not have income eligibility.
Bags are sent home with elementary students each Friday for all school-age children in the home, as well as cereal and baby food for those under the age of one. The bags contain a variety of nonperishable foods. Due to the nature of the program, fresh fruits and vegetables are not included, but these items are available through participation in the food pantry. Families can enroll in WFFK anytime during the school year.
Children and youth can experience food insecurity over the weekend during the school year. School counselors have reported to the RAFP that students rely on school breakfast and lunch during the week and the WFFK program ensures that they will have something for over the weekend.
The WFFK program is funded through grants and community support. The average cost of each food bag is approximately $8 per student and the program runs for 31 weeks.
Food pantry staff notes that challenging economic times are a “huge factor” in the number of children using the WFFK program. They anticipate enrollment will increase this year as families face increased food costs and reduced supplemental assistance programs post-COVID.
Anyone wishing to support WFFK may make a donation through the RAFP website, rhinelanderareafoodpantry.org, or mail a check to BMO Harris, PO Box 280, Rhinelander.