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Great Plains Food Bank announces Agency of the Year
(Oct. 8, 2015) - The Great Plains Food Bank, a program of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota honors Ministry on the Margins, Bismarck, N.D., as its 2014 Agency of the Year. This is the highest honor given to one of the Great Plains Food Bank’s 300 hunger relief partner agencies.
Ministry on the Margins is a volunteer-based ecumenical ministry created in 2013 to do exactly what its name says: serve people on the margins of society. This includes homeless and transient people, the unemployed and underemployed who can’t make ends meet from week to week, people with mental illness or other disabilities, and people recently released from prison. “Ministry on the Margins was selected as Agency of the Year because they are accepting and respectful to each and everyone who walks through the door,” said Rachel Monge, regional services manager for the Great Plains Food Bank. “There are no barriers to obtaining food at their agency. Clients can come weekly if they need to and will be welcomed with open arms.”
Ministry on the Margins has a number of features and operating principles that are radically different from most other local homeless and hunger ministries, including going the extra mile to create a welcoming atmosphere. The volunteers’ main responsibility is to be welcoming and hospitable. There’s always a pot of coffee going, snacks on the table and a place to sit and rest or chat with volunteers or other guests. Ministry on the Margins offers specific opportunities to socialize, including scheduled breakfasts, bingo and set hours of hospitality and fellowship.
Letters of support highlighted that Ministry on the Margins is a place in the area where anyone can sit down, socialize, have something to eat and drink, and feel at home and accepted as they are, no questions asked.
Agencies are nominated each spring by a volunteer or community member who believes the agency goes above and beyond to serve clients and help eliminate hunger. The 2014 nominees were REACH, The Store House Food Pantry, Our Lady of Grace Food Pantry and Ministry on the Margins.
Past winners include the Mott Food Pantry, May-Port Food Pantry, Cando Food Pantry and Belfield Medora Food Pantry. Nomination packets were reviewed by a panel of Great Plains Food Bank staff and statewide hunger advocates.
About the Great Plains Food Bank
The Great Plains Food Bank serves as North Dakota’s only food bank. Its partner network includes 321 programs (food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, and other charitable feeding programs) operating in 113 communities across N.D. and Clay County, Minn. Since 1983 the Great Plains Food Bank and its partners have distributed food for more than 107 million meals to children, seniors, and families in need. The Great Plains Food Bank is a program ofLutheran Social Services of North Dakota, a statewide social services agency serving thousands of North Dakotans in need with affordable housing, food, disaster recovery, counseling and therapy and other programs that strengthen individuals, families and communities without regard to clients’ race, religion, gender or economic status; and a member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network.