A 1995 Kittson County Central High School graduate, Jacob Hook participated in football as a seventh grader. During this time, some fellow youth threw his old pair of shoes in the mud, rendering them unuseable for practice and sports. A teacher knew of this incident and when he went to practice that same day, he found a brand new pair of football cleats waiting for him at his locker.
“That just stuck with me for my whole life,” Hook said. “And I’ve always just wanted to give back what that person did.”
Growing up in a tough financial situation and with a stutter, he saw those around him provide support.
“We always had people in the area that would kind of look out for me, and provide me with things when I was need,” Hook said. “So that’s kind of the inspiration behind all this.”
What is the “this” Hook is referring to? It’s called KIDSon Cares, a non-profit charity focused on helping and providing things to Kittson County youth in need.
So far, it has dropped off winter clothing to schools, and last week, had deputies drop off boots at schools as well. It has also aided some youth with hockey expenses and bought one child a new pair of winter boots, a coat and gloves. Outside possibly gift cards, the charity won’t have give straight money to people.
“Just to have those kids know that there’s someone out there that cares about them and maybe (in) some cases, give them some hope,” Hook said. “A lot of kids right now are struggling and could use all the help they can get.”
A friend of Hook’s and owner of C&M Ford in Hallock, Paul Blomquist, has assisted Hook with this charity, as they are con-founders of it.
“It’s really coming from those kids in Kittson County, who don’t have or are… in a lesser position than others,” Blomquist said, “in a position that they’re compromised, whether it be financially or being picked on or otherwise. I find what Jacob is doing is very admirable, very admirable.”
A customer of Blomquist at C&M Ford, Hook has gotten to know Blomquist over the last few years. After graduating from Kittson County Central, Hook would earn a degree from Moorhead State in physical education and a minor in coaching. Currently living in Fargo, he has been back home to Hallock more frequently lately and just fell in love with the town again.
“The last couple of years, I’ve been back there (in Hallock) a lot more and just seeing old friends,” Hook said, “and just that sense of just the small community that I just, I didn’t realize how much I missed that.”
Back to KIDSon Cares, one has numerous ways to donate to this cause. People can donate to the charity at any bank in Kittson County, as KIDSon Cares has accounts set up at them all, including Prime Security Bank in Karlstad. It also has a PO Box in Hallock— PO Box 385. People can also donate to the charity online. It has a GoFundMe page; people just have to search for KIDSon Cares to donate. If anyone has any questions, he or she can contact Hook via Facebook.
KIDSon Cares is in its early stages, but has “hit the ground running,” making the correct phone calls and reaching out to the right individuals. It had its first meeting on October 21, but, a few weeks ago, it spread the word about this group on Facebook and has received an “awesome” response. It set an initial goal of $10,000 and has already reached that. Having future pledges, it has its sights on doing even more.
Hook said KIDSon Cares has contacted school superintendents and others about this group, but it wants to spread the word about its charity further out into the county, including to the Karlstad area.
So far, it has received great support, specifically donations, from past Kittson County alumni from Hallock, Kennedy, and Lancaster who no longer live in the area anymore.
With the help of Blomquist, KIDSon Cares also is working to reach out to area small businesses.
“I’m reaching out to all Kittson County businesses, or any business for that matter that wants to give to KIDSon Cares, defined in their own unique way to contribute,” Blomquist said. “… Obviously we’ll be encouraging it, other businesses to support it, but every business can kind of do it on their own terms.”
Speaking of business, Hook came to an arrangement with C&M Ford to donate more funds to KIDSon Cares.
“He (Hook) asked, ‘If for every vehicle I buy from you and I donate $500 to KIDSon Cares, would you, Paul or C&M (Ford) match it?’” Blomquist said. “And I agreed to do that.”
If other C&M Ford customers decided to do the same— to buy a vehicle and donate to KIDSon Cares— Blomquist said he would match these donations as well.
Hook also mentioned how if any Kittson County businesses have things that KIDSon Cares needs, to contact KIDSon Cares at its email: [email protected] Blomquist mentioned materials for science projects or band instruments as other potential ideas for the donated dollars.
To see the complete story, read the December 24 issue of the North Star News in print or online.