September is Hunger Action Month across the entire United States. All month long KX News is working with Feeding America and the Great Plains Food Bank to bring awareness to food insecurity across North Dakota. This weekend marks 12 years that the Food Recovery Program has been in Bismarck and Mandan.
Mike Running has delivered food for the Bismarck and Mandan Food Recovery Program for 12 years and has delivered over 7 million meals. He compares himself to Robin Hood.
“I get from those who have it and I give it to those who need it,” says Running. “As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had this sense of helping people.”
Last year, the Food Recovery Program collected almost 1.5 million pounds of food. Running picks up food and delivers it to food pantries so they can be distributed to those in need.
“The average person on the street wouldn’t have any idea that there’s such a demand for food. People struggle with hunger issues, trying to decide between paying a medical bill or do I go without eating?” says Running.
The Bismarck and Mandan Food Recovery Program is a non-profit for non-profits. They work with 12 agencies and have about nine donors that supply food. Great Plains Food Bank CEO, Melissa Sobolik, emphasizes the impact Running has had on this program.
“Well, we started doing food recovery in the Fargo area in the 80s. Something we’ve always heard was that there was such a need in the Bismarck and Mandan area. What we weren’t sure of is, can we get the right person who would just be willing to figure it out, and we really lucked out when we got Mike,” says Sobolik.
Running says with the pandemic, the demand for food in Bismarck is even higher.
“People that have never turned to us for help, are turning to us for food assistance,” says Running.
Hunger Action Month is to bring awareness of food insecurity issues in our country and Mike thinks it’s everybody’s right just to be able to eat.
“He has just been dynamite and really pours his heart and soul into this food recovery program. Honestly, without him, there would be a lot of hungry people in this Bismarck area,” explains Sobolik.
“It’s a human necessity to eat, nobody should go hungry regardless of what’s going on, we all have to live!” exclaims Running.
There will be many events at the Great Plains Food Bank throughout the rest of September. You can visit their website here for more information.