By Anna Jauhola
Giving back to children of Kittson County has long been on Jacob Hook’s mind.
Growing up, he and his family struggled.
“We didn’t have a whole lot. We were on welfare,” Hook said, frankly. “But we just always had people in the area to help out if I was in need.”
Over the last month, Hook has worked to create KIDSon Cares, a nonprofit to support the youth of Kittson County. He shared one story of inspiration for the project.
In middle school, Hook — the son of Margaret Williams and Thomas Hook — was on the football team but could not afford new cleats, so his shoes were old. Unfortunately, other kids took those shoes and threw them in the mud, making them unusable. Despite this incident, Hook still went to practice that day.
“When I got to practice, there was a brand new pair of football shoes waiting for me by my locker,” Hook said. “It’s moments like that that just kind of inspired me to do something for the kids like me in this area. I just want to do my best to give back. I want those kids to know someone is out there who cares about them.”
Hook has contacted each school in Kittson County to work with them to provide items to children in need. Schools often already have donated items on hand or purchase items for students who may need outdoor gear, shoes or school supplies. However, Hook’s program will help supplement that need and alleviate out-of-pocket purchases from staff.
Hook graduated from Kittson Central in 1995 and went on to what is now Minnesota State University Moorhead. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fitness and sports science, and a minor in coaching. He is currently self-employed and spends the winter season coaching basketball, which he has done for 18 years.
Throughout this process, Hook has also partnered with C&M Ford in Hallock. Owner Paul Blomquist said Hook has often returned to C&M to purchase work and personal vehicles, and has been a great friend throughout the years.
“Jacob has always had this vision as a young man for him to come back and be a great supporter, I just thought it had a neat opportunity for all of us to give back,” Blomquist said.
Hook said KIDSon Cares will work closely with schools, which will be the first resource as the staff often knows which students are in need. While KIDSon Cares is in its very primary stages, not every detail has been fully set in stone as to how items will be procured. Despite that, it’ll be a resource for those who are genuinely in need. Hook and his family never asked for handouts and instead did the best with what they had. It is the generosity of people — like those who donate to a program like this — that left a lasting impression for Hook.
“The response I’ve gotten from the county and the people I’ve talked to, I feel it’s going to do really well,” Hook said. “It can go as big as the people of Kittson County want it to go. It’s something I want to do in the long-term, not just be a flash in the pan.”
Hook’s goal is to raise $10,000, which he hopes to do through donations and events such as a golf tournament and raffle this summer.
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just hopes this venture helps people realize there is always help to come out of difficult situations.
“For me, it’s about never forgetting where you come from and the people who helped you along the way,” Hook said. “Without the people of Kittson County, we couldn’t do this.”
To donate, checks can be made out to KIDSon Cares and sent to the following banks: American Federal Bank, Hallock; KodaBank in Kennedy; Prime Security Bank in Karlstad; and United Valley Bank in Hallock and Lancaster. Checks may also be sent to P.O. Box 385, Hallock, MN 56728.
If anyone has questions, they can email [email protected]
By Anna Jauhola