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Noella Thomas

Food pantry helping save a family tradition

Noella Thomas

Noella Thomas' grandmother passed down to her the tradition of hosting a large family dinner each Sunday night. It's important to her she continue the tradition, but there are months when it takes a toll on the family's food supply. Noella has found benefits from a Great Plains Food Bank partner agency to fill fill the void and allow her to continue a tradition.

Each week, Noella Thomas looks forward to a traditional family dinner Sunday evening. It’s the one time of the week when all her children and grandchildren can come together and spend time as a family.

It’s a tradition that has been passed down through generations to Noella.

“I always have a Sunday dinner because I want my kids to come over and eat because that’s how I was raised,” she said. “My grandmother always had a big Sunday dinner.”

And each Sunday is no small gathering. Noella currently lives in Bismarck with her husband and three children. They also have five grandchildren with a sixth grandchild on the way. The remainder of Noella’s family lives in Nebraska.

While Noella has learned to cherish each Sunday dinner, preparing the large meal often times leads to empty cupboards toward the end of each month. Additionally, the other six days of the week she is happy to provide food for each member of her family.

“They’re always at my house eating and my kids always come home,” she said. “They like mamma’s cooking.”

When not preparing meals for her family, Noella works at the Sleep Inn in Bismarck and her husband works at Blue Construction. But despite multiple incomes, the family struggles during certain months and has found a valuable resource with Ministry on the Margins, a partner agency of the Great Plains Food Bank.

They are able to visit Ministry on the Margins when their cupboards start to get bare and get what they need.

“When I’m running low on food I like to come down here and get a little bit of whatever they have here,” Noella said during one of her visits. “I don’t take more than what I need. If there’s something they want to offer me that I don’t need I won’t take it because somebody else could use it. It helps a lot.”

And she is quick to show appreciation for those that have helped to offer the service.

“It’s very much appreciated,” she said. “There are very good people out there that donate to stuff like this so they can help people out when they’re having a little bit of a hard time.”

Thanks to a Great Plains Food Bank partner food pantry, Noella is able to continue her family tradition of a large dinner each Sunday.


© Great Plains Food Bank 2021