Great Plains Food Bank announces new staff to join hunger-relief team

FARGO N.D. – The Great Plains Food Bank has announced a total of four new staff that will join its hunger-relief team. Morgan Svingen (development and analytics manager), Jen Finch (office coordinator), Heather Martinez (SNAP outreach coordinator for eastern N.D.) and Kayla Beck (regional services manager for western N.D.) all recently joined the Great Plains Food Bank team helping to provide needed food assistance to those in need across North Dakota and Clay County, Minn.

Serving the eastern part of North Dakota, Martinez assists neighbors with completing applications for SNAP food benefits as well as connecting them to outside resources as necessary. Martinez visits with individuals throughout the 26 eastern counties in North Dakota to determine how they need support and address those needs. Martinez grew up in rural North Dakota and Colorado before spending 10 years in Bemidji, Minn. Most of her career has been in non-profits with the majority of that time being mental health practitioner for the Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) program in Minnesota. Her previous position was about assessing client’s functionality in life areas, barriers and goals as well as individual treatment plans, which helped her gain resourceful skills that come with assisting clients to get all their basic needs met and the resources they need.

In her role as development and analytics manager, Svingen processes and acknowledges gifts given to the food bank as well as manages the constituent management software. Svingen analyzes donor data monthly, annual fundraising and key performance indicators to aid the development team. Additionally, she works to identify new prospective supports and gift leads as well as supports cross department software and system integrations to better track donors, volunteers and giving. Svingen, originally from Sturgis, S.D., gained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Jamestown College along with a Master of Arts in Leadership with a concentration in non-profits and not-for-profit management. She previously worked as donor relations manager for the YWCA Cass Clay, which has helped with a smooth transition to the Great Plains Food Bank.

Working from the Great Plains Food Bank Regional Service Center in Bismarck in her role at regional services manager for wester North Dakota, Beck supports food assistance partners by strengthening presence and capacity of partner food pantries, building relationships with partners and stakeholders, monitoring partner agency activities for compliance with food safety and developing new partnerships. Originally from Minot, N.D., Beck received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Minot State University and previously worked as a licensed social worker at North Central Human Service Center providing mental health case management to children and families. In 2020, she obtained her Master of Social Work degree with a specialization in community practice from Baylor University. Before joining the Great Plains Food Bank, she worked at Fargo Public Schools as a student wellness and family facilitator.

In her role as office coordinator, Finch hears the struggles of neighbors in need each day assisting callers and visitors with finding partner food pantry information. She assists with bookkeeping duties, making delivery calls and assists all departments as necessary. Prior to joining the Great Plains Food Bank, she served as receptionist and file clerk for the State’s Attorney office. Originally from Moorhead, Minn., Finch received an associate degree in managerial accounting in 2012 and was immediately hired to run the office of Fargo Electric Construction. She has always had a passion for public service and advocacy that fits well in her current role.

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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