What started as a dream is now becoming a reality. This huge undertaking is no joke and it’s meeting the needs of low-income residents in our community.
Jim Barnhardt, the Director of The Dream Center Bismarck says, “The Dream Center truly was a dream. I woke up, it was May 29th of 2016, we were at a convention. We being my wife and I, and I had a dream for a meal ministry along with services to help the low-income people of our community.”
To make that happen he needed some help so he partnered with grocery stores in town to pick up food six days a week. Barnhardt drives to grocery stores, loads and unloads hundreds of pounds of groceries all for families in need.
Barnhardt says, “The last few months here we’ve been distributing roughly about 25 thousand pounds of groceries each month.”
Barnhardt works 60 plus hours a week to help the community. He says it didn’t happen overnight.
In 2016, he and his wife joined the Dream Center Network and began North Dakota’s first mobile distribution organization.
Barnhardt says, “The Adopt a Block program Started June 19th, of 2019 it’s been very nicely accepted by the community. To get it going we worked with Bismarck Public Schools to find the highest areas of need here in Bismarck.”
Since starting Barhardt says they’ve served around 6,000 households.
He adds, “The Adopt a Block program to this point has distributed roughly about one point five million pounds of grocery product.”
And that’s just since 2019.
He says students across the Bismarck Mandan communities are in need of services like this. Especially in summer months since there’s no guarantee they’ll have the stability or food supply they usually get in school.
Sherrice Roness, the Students in Transition Coordinator for Bismarck Public Schools says, “Every day there’s a different place, a different location. We had a conversation about where we’ve seen these needs at and as soon as we talked about that within a week or two he was in those areas with his truck and making a difference.”
This helps those families who don’t have transportation..
Roness says, “So even just going to get groceries is a huge thing. They can’t afford a taxi. Maybe they can’t afford the KAT bus pass, so they’re trying to walk.”
Now, these services will be in one location: at the Dream Center Building that broke ground just last week.
Jim and his wife weren’t done yet. the couple personally financed the outside of the building. An organization called The Banquet will provide the kitchen and the interior offices and warehouse will be left to fundraising.
Along with food, there will be other services.
Barnhardt says, “We’re going to be looking heavily at addictions and working with others in the community.”
He says they’re not trying to re-invent the wheel at the Dream Center but trying to make it a one-stop-shop for those in need here in the capital city.
Barnhardt says The Dream Center is set to open in six to seven months and they’re still in need of financial help to finish the insides of the building.
For more information on how to help go here.