Historic donation is among $3 million from Sanford Health to help regional food banks in the midst of COVID-19
FARGO, N.D. – Sanford Health has helped to mark World Food Day with a major $1 million gift to the Great Plains Food Bank that will immediately benefit hungry children, seniors and families across North Dakota and western Minnesota. This is the largest gift in the 38-year history of the Great Plains Food Bank.
The $1 million donation to the Great Plains Food Bank is part of an unprecedented $3 million being awarded by Sanford Health to food banks in the region as they work to fulfill an increase in need for food assistance due to COVID-19. The remaining $2 million is being split between Feeding South Dakota, North Country Food Bank, Second Harvest North Central Foodbank, Second Harvest Heartland, Food Bank of Siouxland and Food Bank of Iowa.
“At Sanford Health, we have always said we invest in the communities that we serve, and we have had a long-standing relationship with these organizations,” said Allison Suttle, M.D., Sanford Health senior vice president and chief medical officer. “Good health starts with good nutrition, and when we heard about the sharp increases in demand for food, we knew we needed to step in and help. Not having access to nutritious food can lead to the development of chronic illnesses and often aggravates the severity of existing conditions. This is a major investment in the well-being of our communities.”
Since March of this year, the Great Plains Food Bank has served more than 10.8 million meals to those in need, which is a 45 percent increase over the same time period in 2019 and equates to 3.3 million additional meals during that time. In June of this year, the Great Plains Food Bank announced a nearly $12 million pandemic response would be needed over the next 12 months, which included an additional 6 million meals.
“This is an absolutely incredible gift,” said Great Plains Food Bank President Melissa Sobolik. “With the need for food assistance at an all-time high in our history, it is fitting that we are able to respond with the largest financial gift in our history as well. This gift from Sanford Health will help us provide more than 2.55 million meals across our state. Not only meeting the urgent food needs today but preparing for a long-term recovery effort. Many people are facing food insecurity and hunger for the first time in their lives and because of Sanford Health – they won’t have to worry about putting food on their tables.”
Specifically, the Great Plains Food Bank will immediately put the dollars to work by bolstering its efforts in food acquisition and distribution, purchasing of an additional semi-trailer, expansion of its BackPack Program and establishing new Wellness Pantry Program locations within healthcare providers in the region.
“We all need to be good neighbors, especially in difficult times like this,” said Suttle. “We encourage our employees, and everyone in the communities we serve, to come together, support their local food banks, and by additional donations and volunteering our time, we can help eliminate hunger for those facing uncertainty during this ongoing pandemic.”
About Sanford Health
Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 44 hospitals, 1,400 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at sanfordhealth.org or Sanford Health News.
About the Great Plains Food Bank
Now it its 38th 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 170 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.