Food donations may be down this year due to the pandemic, but the Great Plains Food Bank has hit quite a milestone in fighting hunger since COVID-19 emerged.

The food bank says it has served over 1 million pounds of food to Burleigh and Morton Counties from March through July. That’s a 25% increase over last year. A partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made it possible to distribute food on a larger scale through the Farmers to Families program. There are no qualifications to receive food. You just go to the site and pick it up for free.

“Seeking food assistance is hard enough as it is. So we want to break down whatever barriers that we can in which people need assistance in your situation absolutely look up these programs,” said Jared Slinde, Communications Manager at Great Plains Food Bank.

Slinde says the Great Plains Food Bank just purchased a warehouse in south Bismarck to increase food distribution. It should be open by next year.