FARGO N.D. – The Great Plains Food Bank provided needed food assistance to 121,440 individuals in 2021, which was the second-highest total in its 39-year history as an organization. Through its programs and services, the state’s only food bank distributed enough food to provide 12.6 million meals during that time across North Dakota and Clay County, Minn.
While the 121,440 individuals served in 2021 was a decrease over the previous year when 145,587 people turned to the Great Plains Food Bank for help, that figure is still significantly higher than any single year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we learned from studying our numbers over the past year is that the need for food assistance remains extremely high,” Great Plains Food Bank CEO Melissa Sobolik said. “Before the pandemic, we were serving around 100,000 individuals each year and we know that many impacted by the pandemic are still needing our services. I am incredibly proud of all our staff, partners, volunteers and food and financial donors that have remained committed to our work when so many have been in need.”
A large contributing factor to the decrease in the number of those served is the loss of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program, which operated on a regular basis throughout much of 2020. The program, which ended toward the end of 2020, brought in more than 1 million pounds of fresh food into the state each month. This was in addition to the current work being done by the Great Plains Food Bank.
Currently, hunger impacts one in six individuals across North Dakota and one in four children.
Giving Hearts Day
You can help the Great Plains Food Bank with a donation this Thursday for Giving Hearts Day. Donations made for Giving Hearts Day will be matched, which allows you to provide six meals for each dollar donated. Schedule your gift HERE, or visit GivingHeartsDay.org and choose the Great Plains Food Bank.
About the Great Plains Food Bank
Now in its 39th 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 200 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.