Great Plains Food Bank Providing Mobile, Virtual Food Pantry Options Amid Pandemic
The food bank has made some adjustments to continue feeding those in need
FARGO, N.D. — The Great Plains Food Bank has had one mission for over 35 years: to end hunger in North Dakota and western Minnesota.
But with COVID-19 causing work layoffs and school shutdowns, more people in our region are going hungry everyday.
“In one small town, we normally serve 50 or 60 households, and last week, we had 105 show up,” says Great Plains Food Bank President Melissa Sobolik.
Although its services are essential, the food bank is faced with a unique challenge amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We still have a huge need for volunteers to be packing up food, and how do you get volunteers to come in and keep them 6 feet apart?”
They’ve been doing so by spreading volunteers out across multiple spaces in the bank’s warehouse.
But those in the community don’t have to leave their homes to help out.
“If you’re quarantined at home with your kids, you can sign up on our website to do a virtual food drive and send it out via Facebook and all of your friends,” says Sobolik.
Participants can select products to sponsor with the click of a button.
For every dollar donated, the food bank provides three meals for those in need.
“There’s a lot out there who never expected to be in this situation and are really calling and saying, ‘Okay, now what do I do?’ And I’m glad that we can be there to respond to all of that.”
Their response has also gone mobile, where drive-thru model distributions make it easy for people to receive meals in their cars while maintaining social distancing.
Those at the food bank say they hope those who need it will get some peace of mind by simply knowing where their next meal is coming from.
To donate or volunteer at the Great Plains Food Bank, visit: www.greatplainsfoodbank.org.