Facility will significantly enhance Great Plains Food Bank’s ability to better serve food insecure clients; Expansion will support recovery and distribution of more food to more people in need throughout region
BISMARCK, N.D. – A small group of early investors, community leaders and partners from the hunger-relief community joined a large virtual audience here Thursday to celebrate the official grand opening of the Great Plains Food Bank Bismarck Regional Service Center. The celebration marks a significant milestone in the 38-year history of the state’s largest hunger-relief organization.
The regional service center is located at 1315 South 20th Street in Bismarck and is expected to support the rescue and distribution of 1.5 million pounds surplus food providing for a projected 1.25 million meals in its first year of operation. This food will be distributed through the Great Plains Food Bank’s innovative programs designed to meet the hunger needs of children, seniors and families, as well as through its partner network of 87 food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens operating throughout central and western North Dakota.
“Today we take our next bold step in the fight to end hunger,” Great Plains Food Bank CEO Steve Sellent said. “We distribute food for 14.4 million meals annually to all 53 counties statewide from our distribution center in Fargo. Having this facility centrally located in Bismarck will lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness of our organization and is critical to meeting our vision of a hunger-free North Dakota. This certainly is an exciting day for the Great Plains Food Bank and the people we serve, and it wouldn’t be possible without the generous support from so many donors who share our vision.”
The Great Plains Food Bank Regional Service Center was one of three objectives of the organization’s Feed the Future campaign. In addition to a regional service center, Feed the Future supports the statewide expansion of the Great Plains Food Bank’s childhood, senior and rural hunger relief programs and increased freezer and volunteer engagement capacity at its statewide distribution center in Fargo, which is set to open later this year.
“Soon racks and the freezer and cooler inside this building will be filled with surplus perishable and shelf-stable food donated by our food industry partners, thousands of volunteers will be generously sharing their time, and a variety of community partners will come together to join us in our work to end hunger for those experiencing it today, and address its root causes to reduce the line tomorrow," Great Plains Food Bank President Melissa Sobolik said. “And this is just the tip of the hunger-relief iceberg of what we can now accomplish. This center is more than a building. It provides hope to working families, nourishment for hungry children and the nutrition necessary for seniors to thrive.”
Renovations to the regional service center have been happening throughout 2020, which included installation of a freezer/cooler, racking installed for donated food products, the addition of a loading bay and community room, and improvements to the office and reception area.
“It has been incredibly rewarding to build upon existing, and forge new relationships with individuals, businesses, churches, foundations, and charitable feeding programs as we set out to bolster our mission to end hunger through community partnerships,” said Kathy Schneider, member of the Great Plains Food Bank Board of Directors. “This regional service center will serve as a cornerstone in our expanded service delivery to fill unmet needs and under-served communities.”
The Great Plains Food Bank Regional Service Center will operate in addition to the current Great Plains Food Bank statewide distribution center in Fargo.
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 more than 200 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 175 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.