WAUSAU ? Hunger and homelessness are pervasive issues in central and northern Wisconsin, but fighting poverty becomes even more crucial when children are involved. Statewide, more than 18,500 students are homeless, about a third of whom are in central and northern Wisconsin school districts.

At 10 a.m. today, Sept. 5, Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Route 51” host Shereen Siewert welcomes Jim Nick, a Wausau insurance agent who has raised tens of thousands of dollars to support homeless students in area schools, while also supplying them with shoes, backpacks, personal hygiene items and other necessities. Tom Rau, executive director of The Neighbors’ Place in Wausau, and Bonnie Beverstock, a member of the steering committee for Empty Bowls in Stevens Point, will also join in the conversation to discuss efforts to reduce hunger for people of all ages in our area.

“Route 51” is heard Thursdays at 10 a.m. on The Ideas Network stations 101.3 & 91.9/Wausau, AM 930/Auburndale-Stevens Point, 99.1/Stevens Point, 100.9/Marshfield, 90.3/Park Falls, 89.1/Adams-Wisconsin Rapids, and 89.9/Rhinelander-Eagle River. It is re-broadcast Fridays at 7 p.m. on 90.9/Wausau. Program archives are available at?wpr.org/route51.