FARGO, N.D. – The Great Plains Food Bank announced a trio of outstanding hunger-relief organizations as their 2019 Agency of the Year Award winners on Tuesday. The Divide County Food Pantry in Crosby, Hope Center in Devils Lake and Faith Food Ministry in Fargo have been recognized as recipients of the award for their incredible efforts serving those battling food insecurity in their communities and each day living out the Great Plains Food Bank’s values of passion, service and innovation.
The Agency of the Year Award is the highest honor given to the Great Plains Food Bank’s network of more than 300 partner food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens serving those in need across North Dakota and western Minnesota. This is the first time in the nine-year history of the award that it has been given to more than one agency.
“We are thrilled to present our 2019 Agency of the Year award to the Divide County Food Pantry, Hope Center and Faith Food Ministry,” Great Plains Food Bank CEO Steve Sellent said. “Each of these organizations truly embody our values of passion, service and innovation. They are committed to not only feeding people today, but have a vision to end hunger tomorrow. We are grateful to have them as extraordinary partners in our work to end hunger.”
Over the past year, the Divide County Food Pantry has demonstrated passion through serving rural clients in the most northwest corner of North Dakota. In a testament to their value in the community, Divide County High School and elementary school have foregone sharing holiday gifts and instead do a scavenger hunt to collect food items while local businesses run food and funds drives all to benefit the Divide County Food Pantry. Shari Jo DeJardine, who is the administrator at Concordia Lutheran Church where the pantry is located, sees the impact firsthand. “They are very selfless in their endeavors, and I don’t think they realize what an impact they make on our community,” she wrote in her nomination.
Encompassing outstanding service was the Hope Center, who not only provides service to their community, but also to others through support of smaller pantries in the surrounding area. Amy Perleberg, coordinator of the Hunger Free Food Pantry of New Rockford, nominated Hope Center stating, “they are so willing to help all the smaller pantries in the area.” Their service expands beyond providing food as they also take an active role in promoting proper nutrition with activities such as frequently sharing health tips on their active Facebook page.
Faith Food Ministry has shown great innovation using what they have available in helping to serve others. Twice a month, the church social hall is converted into a client choice pantry. Tables are rearranged and food is brought out from various storage spaces around the church to allow clients to walk through and select food that fits their tastes and needs. “Being nominated means a lot to me because my volunteers work hard and I couldn’t do it without them! We are a team!” said pantry coordinator Colette Carter.
Agencies are nominated for the Agency of the Year Award by members of the community, local businesses, civic organizations, volunteers or clients that believe the agency goes to extraordinary means to serve clients and eliminate hunger.
Along with the trio of winners, nominees for the 2019 Agency of the Year Award included: The Salvation Army (Grand Forks), HC Community Cares and Food Pantry (Grand Forks), Adopt a Block (Bismarck), Northlands Rescue Mission (Grand Forks) and Amidon Community Cupboard.
About the Agency of the Year award
Each year the Great Plains Food Bank honors partner agencies – food pantry, shelter, soup kitchens – or feeding site that has displayed exceptional service in the fight to end hunger over the previous calendar year. Partner agencies are nominated from clients and/or community members before being received and selected by the Great Plains Food Bank. Find a complete list of past winners HERE.
About the Great Plains Food Bank
Now it its 37th 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 167 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.