BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The Great Plains Food Bank in our state is still experiencing a shortage.
KX spoke with the food bank’s facility in Bismarck and its headquarters in Fargo, who both say the bank serves over 121,000 individuals each year.
The Great Plains Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in North Dakota and serves as its only food bank.
The bank serves those who seek emergency food assistance, but this year they are facing some obstacles.
“To offset that we are actually but budgeting $2.2 million to do food purchasing which is far and beyond the largest in any single fiscal year in our organization’s history and over, right around twice as much as we budget and as we spend a year ago last fiscal year last year on food purchasing, so we’re preparing for this to be a reality,” Communications Manager, Jared Slinde said.
The $2.2 million are all goal fundraised contributions, some government funding, and applied grants to continue to serve those in need.
Slinde says these are just projections, but it is better to be prepared now more than ever.
“It’s the cost inflation where the cost of food is so much higher than it was before the food industry the grocery stores retailers and manufactures where we get the majority of our products from is possibly ordering less, therefore, they have less to donate, it’s certainly the total cost number of different elements are going to come in to play,” Slinde said.
There is an anticipation of a one-million-pound distribution shortfall this fiscal year Slide says, which is about 800,000 meals shorter than normal.
The shelves here in Bismarck that used to see a regular stream of donated food are no longer coming.
“Typically, I would see those bins fill up on a daily to a weekly basis every day I’m going out there and collecting the food and bringing it into the warehouse. Now it’s rare to see anything come in for donated goods and the bins that I usually feel within two to three weeks are not even filling within a month,” Bismarck’s volunteer and Facility Manager, Mandy Cherney said.
Slinde says right now the bank is seeing food donations that are at levels seen in 2018 which was a time when 30,000 fewer individuals were being served than today.
He says at this time there is no intent on changing who is eligible to receive donations, they will remain open to all regardless of the shortage.
“Our clients are living paycheck to paycheck, to begin with, and now they’re being asked to spend that much more at the gas pump and supply a gallon of milk and things like that so there’s even a more a higher strand now,” he said.
Slinde says the biggest goal right now is to continue to find distributors, and contributions and build avenues to keep serving those who rely on these donations.
Hunger impacts one in six individuals in the state of North Dakota.
The Great Plains Food Bank distributes 15 million pounds of food to more than 300 charitable feeding programs operating in 100 communities across North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota.
If you are in need of food assistance or wish to be helping hand be sure to visit https://www.greatplainsfoodbank.org/ .