A bit of friendly competition between a few state agencies is helping put food on tables this holiday season.

For the first year ever, the state Auditor’s Office challenged other departments to see who could collect the most food items.

Among the six offices that participated, the Governor’s Office came in first.

Overall, 5,692 items were donated to the Bismarck Emergency Food Pantry Thursday afternoon.

While the Auditor’s Office didn’t place first, they say they’re happy to contribute what they can.

“We were a strong second. The Governor’s Office did a fantastic job, couldn’t be more proud of what they were able to contribute. But I’m also really proud of what the Auditor’s Office did. We were in solid second place,” State Auditor Josh Gallion said.

“The seed was, we do an annual event in our office, and we were going to just do it between the Bismarck and Fargo offices and then after talking with Emily she suggested we make it bigger and then here we are,” Administrative Assistant Paula Schwab said.

The donation is also a big help to the pantry, which recently moved to a larger location on South 12th Street to meet the increasing need in the community.

Food Pantry Co-Chairs Pat Jergenson and Sandi Crimmins say they’re grateful for whatever they can get.

“We actually are only viable because of donations, we are a nonprofit. Financial and food donations is what allows us to be able to serve those that are food insecure,” Jergenson said.

Those at the Auditor’s Office say they hope to make this an annual event.