North Dakota non-profits are responsible for a major portion of food donations, meal services and shelter for the homeless in our state. But, like many other businesses, these charitable organizations are taking a huge hit right now.
The Salvation Army in the capital city is 33 percent behind on income, compared to where they would normally be this time of year.
Maj. Nelson De La Vergne says donations just are not coming in like they used to.
“We’re, you know, living day-to-day basically like everyone else, but also trying to meet the needs of our public,” added the Salvation Army Corps Officer.
Luckily, the nonprofit just took in a big donation of food, but although this pantry looks stocked, De La Vergne says it’s half of their normal supply, and it will be gone in a week or two.
“As we need it, it comes in trickling. Funding is…eh…it’s coming in quite slow too, and meeting the needs for rents and utilities and things like that has been a big struggle,” he shared.
Even money in the mail has slowed down. De La Vergne tells KX News that because they can’t run regular programs for kids, they may have to start laying off paid staff as early as June.
This issue spans way beyond the Salvation Army. Bismarck’s United Way Homeless shelter is still at capacity, and their requests for assistance are higher than ever.
“Our expenses have sky-rocketed. We’re spending money on security deposits and first month’s rents, and application fees, just to try to create safe space, so that our homeless population doesn’t die,” expressed MSA United Way Executive Director Jena Gullo.
All this, as donations are down, and it’s mostly due to the many canceled charity events.
“We had to cancel the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, and the Crisis Care Chaplaincy is the recipient of the monies made out of that,” explained Crisis Care Chaplaincy Staff Chaplain Greg Carr.
Carr says this is the Chaplaincy’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
KX News asked Maj. De La Vergne if this downturn will have long-lasting effects, or if the Salvation Army could bounce back in a year or so.
He responded, “We will definitely be here serving people in the manners we’ve always served people, and meeting basic needs. So I’m pretty sure of that, but how much of it? That’s the question: Is it going to be 300 families a year or two?”
Luckily Bismarck’s prayer breakfast has since been rescheduled for June 25.
If you’re looking to help one of these organizations, we’ve compiled how to do so below:
- The Salvation Army is in need of food and cleaning supplies first-and-foremost.
- Donations can be dropped off during business hours at their Bismarck location.
- 601 S Washington St, Bismarck, ND 58504
- United Way is in need of non-perishable food and snacks for its Backpack Program, and meals for the homeless shelter.
- Backpack supplies can be dropped off during business hours at the Bismarck office.
- 515 N 4th St, Bismarck, ND 58501
- Click here to volunteer to cook a meal for the shelter.
- The Crisis Care Chaplaincy is in need of monetary donations.
- This can be mailed to the Bismarck Police Dept., addressed to ATTN: Crisis Care Chaplaincy.