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Glenburn Food Pantry, Abundance of Grace, Turtle Mountain Chippewa named 2020 Agency of the Year Award winners

Great Plains Food Bank partners show passion, service, innovation during challenging year
FARGO, N.D. – Glenburn Food Pantry, Abundance of Grace Food Pantry in Mandan and Turtle Mountain Chippewa Food Pantry in Belcourt have been given the 2020 Agency of the Year Award by the Great Plains Food Bank for exceptional work in the fight to end hunger during a challenging year. Each recipient is given an award that truly epitomizes the organization’s three core values – passion, service and innovation.

The Agency of the Year Award is the highest honor given to the Great Plains Food Bank’s network of 200 food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens located throughout North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota. The network of partners was especially critical during 2020 as the Great Plains Food Bank witnessed a near 45 percent increase in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During no other year in our 38-year history were our partners more crucial to our work than in 2020,” Great Plains Food Bank President Melissa Sobolik said. “These three organizations truly exemplify our values and have been steadfast in supporting our vision of a hunger free North Dakota and western Minnesota. We are incredibly grateful for each one of our partners and a huge congratulations to the Glenburn Food Pantry, Abundance of Grace Food Pantry and Turtle Mountain Chippewa Food Pantry for this well-deserved honor.”

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 eliminate hunger.

Glenburn Food Pantry – Passion award winner
The Glenburn Food Pantry truly epitomizes the spirit of passion in helping serve those in need in their community as their operation has grown immensely in recent years. In addition to their monthly distributions, the Glenburn Food Pantry has expanded to operate a BackPack Program, clothing closet and provided healthy produce to members of the community during the summer months through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

From Glenburn Food Pantry nomination: “The help this community receives is undeniably needed and appreciated by all that receive it. It aids families that no one ever knows need it. Food is provided for all members of the community who are in need, whether it be for a holiday, for students or for basic necessities.”

Abundance of Grace Food Pantry – Service award winner
Abundance of Grace Food Pantry first started partnering with the Great Plains Food Bank in 2004. In that time, their ability to serve those in need has grown by leaps and bounds and especially so in the last year. When their clients needed it most, Abundance of Grace more than doubled the amount of food they distributed from 57,123 pounds in 2019 to 127,881 pounds in 2020. They provided an exceptional service when they added food rescue stops at Walmart in Mandan and at Costco and Panera Bread in Bismarck to their weekly pickups. When more people than ever were in need as a result of COVID-19, Abundance of Grace shifted to drive-up distributions to keep clients and volunteers as safe as possible. They continue to feed those in need through weekly access to food assistance and work consistently to grow their food pantry program.

From Abundance of Grace nomination: “Abundance of Grace has a major impact on our community by just serving. They are fighting the fight against hunger, hard times for people, and people who just need the extra boost.”

Turtle Mountain Chippewa Food Pantry – Innovation award winner
Turtle Mountain Chippewa Food Pantry has gained the respect within the Belcourt community and has become a valuable resource to feed those in the area that are in need. They displayed true innovation in 2020 when COVID-19 presented challenges and led to more people than ever needing food assistance. Turtle Mountain Chippewa immediately transitioned to drive-up distributions to serve people quickly and safely. Operation of Turtle Mountain Chippewa has become a community effort with utilizing volunteers from different organizations and other walks of life to help make it successful.

From Turtle Mountain Chippewa nomination: “Jackie (Giron) has given many years to helping hungry families and takes the time to meet the needs of these families and children however she can.”

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 in its 38th year, the Great Plains Food Bank serves as North Dakota’s only food bank. Its partner network includes nearly 200 food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, and other charitable feeding programs operating more than 100 communities across N.D. and Clay County, Minn. Since 1983, the Great Plains Food Bank, through its array of innovative direct service programs and partner network, 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 in 2018 by the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.

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