Before and during the pandemic, families have been struggling with food insecurity. But, food pantries in western North Dakota are there to help meet those needs. We spoke with some volunteers about helping those who need it most.
“There was a lot of concern among the clients here. They didn’t know where to turn, they were scared to go to the grocery stores and to have our doors open was invaluable to them,” said Gerald Roise, chairman, Lord’s Cupboard.
Hundreds of families weren’t sure what was going to happen when the pandemic made its way to North Dakota.
In the past, people who used the Lord’s Cupboard could go in and pick out what they wanted. But, the process changed to a drive-thru, which requires more volunteers, from high schoolers all the way to airmen from Minot Air Force Base.
“It’s amazing to see that like different people from different jobs and occupations coming out to help,” said volunteer Sydni Gartner.
“I enjoy it! They’re really strong so they can really lift all the heavy boxes,” said volunteer Trystan Brey.
“The Air Force teaches us a lot to put service before self, that’s one of the core values. But, as soon as I got here, I realized how integrated the Air Force is with the community. They push that a lot more than any other base I’ve been at and I’ve seen it both ways: the community helps out with us in so many ways, they’re supportive and we just wanted to give back,” said Airman Christian Alston.
Volunteers inside pack up boxes with different food items. There are other volunteers who take down people’s information and put the boxes in the cars.
“We had a young lady helping the other day that was astonished because she was physically putting the groceries in the cars and she was astonished at how many people were obviously living in their cars. We don’t realize that in the city of Minot. It is very real,” Roise said.
For some first-time volunteers, they’re realizing just how much of a need there truly is.
“It’s important because like, we know what we have and we love helping them out too and see what they need and providing that for them,” Gartner said.
“I just enjoy seeing people come out and I’m just glad to help them in any way they need it,” Brey added.
“I had no idea there was this many people that came out here and need food like this. So, this is good what we’re doing,” said Airman Tyler Welch.
The Lord’s Cupboard in Minot is open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, serving around 100 families each day.