FARGO, N.D. – Among the highest honors awarded to its network of partner food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens, the Great Plains Food Bank recently presented the CHARISM Grocery Assistance Program (GAP) with the Five-Star Food Pantry award. The award recognizes Great Plains Food Bank partner agencies that go above and beyond to meet the food needs of their communities and do so in a way that is sustainable for years to come.
CHARISM GAP, which redistributes food from local grocery stores to residents of the McCormick Park area in Fargo, distributed 232,934 meals in 2018 and has distributed a total of 1.2 million meals since the program started in 2000.
“We know that the GAP program upholds the highest level of care and concern for the health and safety of clients coming through these pantry doors,” said Great Plains Food Bank Program Director Nancy Carriveau. “Barriers between people and food are being busted down here. Food safety practices are top notch, and polices are in place to keep both the food being distributed and clients picking it up safe. They have created a warm, friendly environment where people can feel dignified and be connected to the resources they need.”
The award is given to a Great Plains Food Bank partner agency that is exceptional in a number of areas including mission and vision, client access and distribution practices, board and volunteer recruitment and engagement, financial strength and strategic planning, community support and engagement and food safety.
To become a Five Star Food Pantry, program leaders complete a nine-section application process covering 78 areas of best practices. Food pantries that meet or exceed 75 percent of the identified best practices earn the three-year certification, the highest honor possible for a North Dakota food pantry.
This is the first time since 2014 the Great Plains Food Bank has named a partner agency as a Five Star Food Pantry.
About the Great Plains Food Bank
Now it its 35th year, the Great Plains Food Bank serves as North Dakota’s only food bank. Its partner network includes 213 food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, and other charitable feeding programs operating in 99 communities across N.D. and Clay County, Minn. Since 1983, the Great Plains Food Bank, through its partners and programs, have distributed more than 162 million meals to children, seniors, and families in need. The Great Plains Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network and was named the Not-for-Profit of the Year for 2018 by the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.