MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Marketplace Foods in Minot held a summer food drive fundraiser for Backpack Buddies Program. In total, the drive raised over $66,000.

Marketplace Foods holds a food drive every year right before school starts to raise money for the program which is run by Souris Valley United Way.

The organization will use the funds to purchase food and distribute that food to students who are experiencing food insecurity.

Currently, the program feeds children in nine local schools.

Richard Berg, executive director of Souris Valley United Way, says food insecurity not only impacts a student’s physical health it also takes a toll on their mental health.

“When they are not well-nourished and well-fed over the weekends, teachers are telling us that they are not coming to school on time or when they do get there they are sluggish and are not really prepared for their week in school because they have been searching all weekend for things to eat,” said Berg.

Berg says in North Dakota about 25% of the population is food insecure.