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Matt Stubstad

Keeping a family together

Stricken with rheumatoid arthritis and advanced age, Matt Stubstad's mother needs his full-time attention. Without serving as her primary caregiver, the alternative is that she be placed in a nursing home, which Matt doesn't have the heart to do. Seeking needed food assistance through the Dorothy Day Food Pantry in West Fargo, a partner agency of the Great Plains Food Bank, has allowed Matt to continue to be the primary caregiver for his mother.

Matt Substad’s daily routine doesn’t vary often. He has little time for a social life and there are rarely trips outside of the home that don’t serve a critical purpose. He needs to remain laser-focused on his responsibilities each day as his mother’s life depends on it.

Matt is the primary caretaker for his aging mother. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and, when combined with her advanced age, requires around-the-clock attention. Being a home caregiver is a responsibility Matt takes very seriously.

“She is thin as a rail and I have to look out for her to make sure she doesn’t fall and help her around the house,” he said. “It’s full-time. I’m basically employed but unemployed because I’m doing a job that I’m not getting paid for.”

If Matt wasn’t there to help his mother each day, she likely would be forced to enter a nursing home, which is something Matt doesn’t have the heart to do. And needing to dedicate his attention to caring for his mother doesn’t allow him the freedom for full-time work.

With money to purchase enough food being hard to come by, Matt has found a valuable resource at the Dorothy Day Food Pantry in West Fargo, a partner agency of the Great Plains Food Bank.

Visiting the food pantry at times of need allows Matt to continue to look after his mother and helps him avoid being forced to place her in a nursing home.

“I try to make it every week, but sometimes with her appointments it conflicts,” he said about visiting the Dorothy Day Food Pantry.

The variety of food they can receive has been an added bonus from Matt and his mother.

“The breads, the meats and the fruit,” Matt said when asked what food items he enjoys the most from the food pantry. “The fresh vegetables are awesome.”

Matt was quick to point out that without access to needed food assistance, he would likely be forced to place his mother into a nursing home and has a message for everyone that helps to keep the family fed.

“I just want to say thank them for being so generous,” he said to all food and financial donors that make places like the Dorothy Day Food Pantry and other Great Plains Food Bank partner agencies possible. “A lot of people aren’t that way now days and it’s good to see kindhearted people. I can’t stress enough that this really does help and it does make a difference.”


© Great Plains Food Bank 2021