Jodi Smith


In September 2016, Jodi Smith started the lowest year of her life.

Divorced, homeless and depressed, she lived in her vehicle. Every night, she parked the GMC Envoy in a Fargo Walmart parking lot and taped newspapers to the windows for some semblance of privacy.

The 61-year-old moved out of a subsidized apartment because the heating costs were too expensive. Finding affordable permanent housing proved difficult, however, so she moved most of her belongings into storage and a family member’s garage. Personal items were stored in plastic bags and tossed in the back of her vehicle.

Family members offered Jodi a daily shower and a place to stay while she recovered from foot surgery, but nobody was in a position to offer her a permanent place to stay.

Then seven months after she lost her housing, she lost her job.

“It has been a year full of turmoil,” she says. “I have never in my life been this low.”

Jodi’s expenses – car insurance, gas, phone, medical bills – were mostly covered by disability payments from Social Security. There was little money left for food, so she applied for SNAP benefits. She was eligible for $6 a month. She initially received $194/month but currently receives $6 per month due to a repayment plan caused by an error made by the county social service office.

That $6 helped her buy a week’s worth of bread and lunch meat. Without easy access to a stove, these were foods she could safely keep in a cooler in the back of her vehicle.

“I’d also go to the food pantry, where I’d get canned goods and pasta,” she says. “But when you’re living out of your car, you can’t even warm up a can of soup.”

In addition, sleeping in the back of her vehicle worsened some of her physical ailments. She has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has had two knees replaced. She suffers chronic back pain from a car accident that killed her toddler son in the early 1980s.

In May, a friend living in Minot invited Jodi to move into her home while she looked for a job. Jodi doesn’t pay rent, but does help with household chores. In August, she started a part-time job at Walmart.

She is now trying to save money to pay for a deposit and first month’s rent on subsidized housing. Any food assistance she receives means she has more money at the end of the month to put toward that goal.

For the first time in months, things are looking up.

“For the past year, I’ve felt worthless and like I’m inconveniencing other people,” Jodi says. “I came here (to Minot) so I can start living again. SNAP benefits help with that.”

About the Great Plains Food Bank
Opening in March of 1983, the Great Plains Food Bank is currently celebrating its 40th year as an organization. Serving as North Dakota’s only food bank, the Great Plains Food Bank partners with nearly 200 food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other charitable feeding programs operating in 100 communities across N.D. and Clay County, Minn. Through its array of innovative direct service programs and partner network, the Great Plains Food Bank has distributed more than 200 million meals to children, seniors, and families in need since 1983. 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.

Twitter: @NDFoodBank
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This privacy notice discloses the privacy practices for Great Plains Food Bank regarding websites located at and Great Plains Food Bank reserves the right, at any time and without notice, to change this Privacy Policy simply by posting such changes on our site. Any such change will be effective immediately upon posting. Great Plains Food Bank (“us”, “we”, “our”). Website visitor, guest, and/or donor (“you”, “user”).

Information Collection

  • Personal Information You Choose to Provide In the process of general correspondence, making a gift, or participating in online surveys you may be asked to supply us with personal information, including your email address, postal address, home or work telephone number and other information. If you correspond with us through email, we may retain the content of your email messages, your email address, and our responses. 
  • Website Use Information Similar to most websites, our site may utilize “cookies” and web server logs to collect information about how our website is used. Information gathered may include the date and time of visits, pages viewed, time spent on our website, and the sites visited just before and just after ours. This information is collected on an aggregate basis; none of this information is associated with you as an individual.

How Do We Use Information 

  • That You Provide to Us? We use personal information for purposes of administering our not-for-profit business activities, providing service and support, and making available other information and services to our website visitors, guests, agency partners, advocates, contracted consultants, and approved vendors. We may use the information provided to notify you about important changes to our website, new services, or new information that supports your interest in hunger-relief. 
  • Collected From Cookies? We use cookies and web server logs to gather information about our website users’ browsing activities. This information assists us in designing and continually improving our web pages in the most user-friendly manner. We do not use these technologies to capture any personally identifying information.


  • How Do We Protect Your Information?
    • We utilize encryption/security software to safeguard the confidentiality of personal information we collect from unauthorized access or disclosure and accidental loss, alteration or destruction. 
    • Our operations and business practices are periodically reviewed for compliance with organization policies and procedures governing the security, confidentiality and quality of our information. 
    • Our organization values ethical standards, policies and practices and is committed to the protection of user information. Our not-for-profit business practices limit employee access to confidential information, and limits the use and disclosure of such information to authorized persons, processes and transactions.
  • How Do We Secure Information Transmissions? All information transmitted through our website, giving pages, and forms are sent via secure, encrypted server. Other emails you send to us may not be secure; for that reason, we ask that you do not send confidential information such as Social Security, credit card, or account numbers to us through an unsecured email.
  • Do We Disclose Information to Outside Parties? We do not sell, trade, or rent your personal information. We may provide aggregate information about our website visitors or website traffic patterns to our contracted affiliates or third parties; this information will not include personally identifying data, except as otherwise provided in this privacy policy. Personal information such as email and address may be shared with a contracted third party for the use of email dissemination and direct mail marketing; all third party vendors are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Legally Compelled Disclosure of Information? We may disclose information when legally compelled to do so, in other words, when we, in good faith, believe that the law requires it or for the protection of our legal rights.

Permission to Use of Materials 

  • The right to download and store or output the materials on our website is granted for personal use only, and materials may not be reproduced in any edited form. Any other reproduction, transmission, performance, display or editing of these materials by any means mechanical or electronic without our express written permission is strictly prohibited. Users wishing to obtain permission to reprint or reproduce any materials appearing on this site may contact us directly.

Your Access to and Control of Information 

  • You may request access to all of your personally identifiable information that we collect online and maintain in our donor constituent database, DonorPerfect. 
  • You may request removal from any communication including but not limited to emails, direct mail pieces, text and phone calls.
  • Because we do not sell, trade, or rent your personal information; opting out of such practices is optional and not required.

Contact Great Plains Food Bank/Opt-out

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, need to opt-out of future communications, or wish to exercise any other privacy right you may have by law, please contact us in any of the ways shown below.

Great Plains Food Bank
attn. Development Associate
1720 3rd Ave N
Fargo, ND 58102

Phone: 701-476-9120


All opt-out requests will be honored, but please be patient with us as it may take up to twelve (12) weeks for opt-out changes to be fully implemented. We may also occasionally initiate contact with opt-out supporters in order to update their contact preferences, and we will promptly accommodate their updated preferences, if any.



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Ongoing support is important to enabling projects to continue their work, so we encourage donors to continue to contribute to projects over time. But if you must cancel your recurring donation, please notify us.