As part of Hunger in North Dakota 2018, a comprehensive study of Great Plains Food Bank clients and partners, more than 500 clients in need of food assistance were asked if they have ever been forced to make the difficult decision between paying for food or gasoline. Sadly, nearly half of those surveyed told us this was the case. Teresa Van Deusen was no exception.
Teresa is like so many living in western North Dakota – proud, independent, always willing to help others, but reluctant to admit when she could use assistance.
“It’s tough to admit the need for help,” she said. “I needed help.”
Teresa was doing well before losing her job in the oilfield as a result of downsizing. She began working as an auditor for the city of Dodge, but her paycheck doesn’t stretch far enough. She receives no government assistance and being able to pay all her bills on time is a challenge. Like so many we serve, she admits to making difficult choices between paying for food or other necessities.
“Things have been hard the last year or so,” she said.
She has no family in the area and also faces challenges of access to food with the closest grocery stores being in Hazen and Beulah, which are more than 20 miles away.
Teresa was looking for a supplement to help her make it to the end of each month when she learned about the Great Plains Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry. She quickly found the solution she was looking for and looks forward to the assistance each time it stops in Dodge.
“Oh my God, it is so helpful,” she said, excitedly.
The mobile food pantry regularly brings fresh produce, boxed goods, meats and other foods items into her community. It has become a staple to help Teresa bridge that gap. It is the only assistance she receives and without it she admits she would need to cut back. She specifically enjoys the fresh fruits and vegetables she receives.
Like so many living throughout the state, she wishes to be as independent as she can. But she also knows she can count on those that support the Great Plains Food Bank at times when she needs a little help.
“The assistance makes such an impact,” she said. “The food is needed.”