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Great Plains Food Bank names 2020 Hunger Relief Champions

Sanford Health, N.D. Farmers Union/Farmers Union Insurance, Wells Fargo Bank, Linda Narum show true commitment to hunger relief during challenging year
FARGO, N.D. – The Great Plains Food Bank has announced Sanford Health, North Dakota Farmers Union/Farmers Union Insurance, Wells Fargo Bank and Linda Narum from the Amidon Community Cupboard food pantry as its 2020 Hunger Relief Champion award winners. During a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, each individual and organization displayed an exceptional commitment to fight hunger in their communities.

Winners are chosen for their longstanding dedication to the Great Plains Food Bank mission, sharing their time, talent, treasure and voice to ending hunger while demonstrating the values of passion, service and innovation.

“We just experienced a year unlike any other where more people than ever were in need of food assistance,” Great Plains Food Bank President Melissa Sobolik said. “Each one of our Hunger Relief Champions went above and beyond to help in our work when it was needed most. We cannot say thank you enough and congratulations to Sanford Health, North Dakota Farmers Union and North Dakota Farmers Union Insurance, Wells Fargo and Linda Narum for being awarded this high honor.”

Sanford Health
It was the largest gift in the 38-year history of the Great Plains Food Bank when Sanford Health donated $1 million during October of 2020. The gift was a part of $3 million awarded by Sanford Health to benefit food banks in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. The $1 million gift was enough to provide 3 million meals to help feed those in need across North Dakota and western Minnesota and was immediately put to work by the Great Plains Food Bank increasing efforts in food acquisition and distributing, purchasing of an additional semi-trailer, expansion of its BackPack Program and establishing new Wellness Pantry Program locations in the region. During a long history of giving, Sanford Health also provided a $25,000 gift earlier in 2020 to the Great Plains Food Bank for COVID-19 relief and previously gave a $100,000 long-term gift. Additionally, Sanford Health has been at the forefront of the Great Plains Food Bank Ending Hunger 2.0 work helping to house programs such as Meals for Moms in Fargo and Bismarck. 

North Dakota Farmers Union/Farmers Union Insurance
Along with their unique work through different food and funds drives to benefit the Great Plains Food Bank, North Dakota Farmers Union/Farmers Union Insurance were integral in the completion of the Feed the Future Capital Campaign, which launched completed key infrastructure initiatives and officially opened the Bismarck regional service center during the fall of 2020. Their donations totaling more than $37,000 helped close out the campaign. Additionally, they spearheaded partnerships with the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league, and the Western Conference of the United States Hockey League hosting jersey giveaways for those making food or cash donations to the Great Plains Food Bank and hosted a large volunteer “packathon” inside the Bismarck Civic Center.

Wells Fargo Bank
Longstanding partners in the fight to end hunger, multiple investments totaling $125,000 through the Wells Fargo Foundation was a major push forward for the opening of the regional service center in Bismarck. The gifts also helped the Great Plains Food Bank respond to the increase in demand from COVID-19 and bolster ground-breaking health and hunger interventions. The funding assisted the Great Plains Food Bank’s FRESH Produce Initiative, which secured 80,000 pounds of produce that otherwise would have gone to waste from local, regional and national partners and safely distribute this to those experiencing food insecurity. Their assistance also allowed the Great Plains Food Bank to move forward with its work offering food insecure patients with medically-tailored food bags that better meet the nutritional needs of patients living with chronic disease along with launching of the Wellness Pantry Program that establishes a food pantry in a clinic setting making it easier for patients to eat better and improve their health.

Linda Narum
Coordinator of the Amidon Community Cupboard, Linda Narum has been fighting hunger in southwestern North Dakota for decades. In addition to her work managing a wide service area for the Community Cupboard, Linda has found unique ways to serve those in need. Over the summer, she would travel with a truck and trailer to Dickinson to pick up 200 USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program boxes to distribute to those in need in New England, Bowman and Amidon. She was instrumental in starting a BackPack Program in New England the moment she realized it was needed. In recent years, Linda, along with her late husband Harold, made regular 400-mile trips to Wahpeton and, while on the other side of the state from the Community Cupboard caring for family, her work to end hunger never wavered.  Both Linda and Harold became regular volunteers at Churches United for the Homeless in Moorhead, another partner agency of the Great Plains Food Bank. Upon her return trips home, Linda continues to stop at the Great Plains Food Bank Fargo warehouse to pick up any additional items for the Community Cupboard. Additionally, Linda is always on the lookout for innovative ways to raise money for the Community Cupboard such as collecting car batteries to turn in for dollars or going above and beyond to secure pallets of bottled water for clients in her region.

About the Hunger Relief Champions award
Launched in 2008, the Hunger Relief Champions award recognizes individuals, businesses, churches or organizations for their extraordinary contributions and commitment to end hunger. These honorees are acknowledged for their longtime partnerships with the Great Plains Food Bank, their creativity and organization-wide commitment, for being innovators and solution focused, and for extending an invitation to employees, customers and other like-minded community entities to join them in their work to alleviate hunger. A complete list of past winners can be found 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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© Great Plains Food Bank 2021