Growing Number of People Relying on Local Food Pantries
Some attribute the rise to population growth and affordable food programs they have
FARGO, N.D. — There has been a steady increase of people in the F–M area using food pantries this year to last.
Ever since she started volunteering at the Emergency Food Pantry five years ago, Valerie Hanson says she’s recently seen the hallways become more crowded.
“We’re busier during the day and it seems like people, they realize that it’s not charity. It’s something that will help them get through the week or through the month,” Hanson said.
Usually at the beginning of March, the Emergency Food Pantry says they help an average of 60 families per day, but the number has been steadily on the rise over the last few years.
Stacie Loegering, the food pantry’s Executive Director, says the number of people that come through their doors usually drops after December, but the last few months have been busy.
“In February we had three days where we had well over 100 families come in to get food. Sometimes a person comes in for just one food basket in one year and it’s all they need, but for some people, it’s a constant need,” Loegering said.
Last year, Great Plains Food Bank says they served one million more meals than they did in 2017, but the demand keeps on rising.
“We’re running above our capacity of what we can be. We continue to find ways each year to be innovative and continue to expand, therefore the number of meals we are providing continues to go up, we’re doing the best we can. Unfortunately there’s still people out there that are going hungry,” said Jared Slinde of Great Plains Food Bank.
As these groups try to feed more people across the metro, some say community support is vital.
“As a community we’ve been blessed to be able to have givers and funders to help these types of programs continue to run, but I think it’s a larger conversation that needs to be had to say what else we can do to bring in some of that self–sufficiency as well.” Loegering said.
Becker County’s Food Pantry says they have seen an increase in the number of people requesting their services, saying 1 out of 11 families in the county get food from them.