Photos by Hillary Ehlen and special to Fargo Monthly
Featured photo: Emergency Food Pantry‘s Executive Director Stacie Loegering
With help from the Impact Foundation, we’ve broken up the numerous Fargo-Moorhead organizations into 12 categories. With more than 100 charitable organizations in the Fargo-Moorhead area alone, we know that you’ll come across an organization that tug at your heartstrings. Within the listings of local charities we’ve published, the organizations are split into subcategories that will make it easy for your charitable spirit to find its match. Here is our spotlight on the Basic Needs nonprofits, featuring Emergency Food Pantry.
Emergency Food Pantry
1101 4th Ave. N., Fargo
“Not everybody has a full plate.”
To those who would otherwise go hungry, the Emergency Food Pantry offers carts of food, giving those with a full plate in their daily lives the comfort of knowing they’ll have a full plate of food waiting for them at home. Whether your full plate is literal and you never have to question when your next meal will be, or, more figuratively, if it’s a hectic and busy lifestyle, it’s important to remember that not everyone is so fortunate.
To some, a busy schedule is fulfilling, but to others, it is a necessity. Emergency Food Pantry‘s executive director Stacie Loegering said, “I think that a lot of served family’s lives are just as hectic as the next person’s, but their stressors are about basics. Their stressors are about getting food on their plate and,– ‘Do I have enough money to pay rent this month?'”
The Emergency Food Pantry provides standard supplies that are typically associated with a food pantry, like canned goods and non-perishables. However, they also stock fresh produce, dairy products like milk and cheese and household goods such as toilet paper and bars of soap. “We try to screen a little bit about what other things a person visiting the pantry might need in their life. We understand that if a person doesn’t have enough money for food, they might not have enough money for other things,” Stacie said.
In addition to the tangible goods they supply, Emergency Food Pantry provides an environment of warmth and safety to those coming into their doors. “Many times people are coming in fearful. They don’t know what to expect, and they’re feeling ashamed,” said Stacie. For each person that comes in, the staff and volunteers act with respect and ensure that these people feel okay about needing to ask for assistance. “When someone comes in with tears of sorrow, and then they’re leaving within an hour with tears of joy…I think that right there is an important piece about what we do that extends longer than just that day,” said Stacie.
Stacie noted that if you are passionate about their mission, there are a few ways to help the Emergency Food Pantry:
1. Donations. Financial and Tangible. For every $1 donated, they are able to provide four meals and feed a family of four for a week, which costs $21. The reason they can provide so much to those in need with so little money is because of gracious food donations from community members and stores in town. Stacie shared, “Our budget last year was about a quarter of a million, but the value of everything that we give out, was over $2 million. $2 million worth of product and value that we put back into the community.”
2. Volunteer. The food pantry is open to volunteers Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Volunteers receive training on how to best fill food carts with items that meet a variety of needs. They then get to meet with the clients face to face and shop together, using their training to ensure that each person that comes in gets all that they need. Volunteers feel truly connected to the mission and the people they serve. However, if you’d prefer to stay behind the curtain, Stacie added, “There are a lot of behind the scenes tasks that you don’t necessarily think about.” She noted that every item that comes through the door gets checked for quality, so they often need someone stocking the shelves and checking for damages and “best by” dates. Another backstage opportunity is to be a van driver. Every morning, an Emergency Food Pantry van goes out to local grocery stores to pick up donations. A driver and a rider for that van are always needed.
3. Education. Help the Emergency Food Pantry by learning more about hunger in our community and be more aware about the needs those around us might face. One in nine people in Cass and Clay Counties live in poverty. Stacie said, “You might not know it. They’re in your classroom, your children’s or grandchildren’s classroom, they’re in your church, they’re even when you’re out shopping. They may have money today, but they may not have enough money to purchase what they need next week.”
Having previously worked in nonprofits that provide families with basic day-to-day needs, Stacie recognizes the importance of having a service like the Emergency Food Pantry that connects the community and reassures people that it’s okay to ask for help. “I think many times, if you’re not in a service where you’re helping people, or know somebody close to you that is struggling with those day-to-day decisions, I think sometimes it’s hidden in our community.”
Stacie noted that many grocery stores in town have designated spots in their store for donations to the food pantry. So next time you’re out at the store getting your ingredients for dinner, consider adding an extra item or two to your cart and ask the cashier where you can drop off donations to the Emergency Food Pantry. You never know whose plate you’ll fill.
From Executive Director Stacie Loegering
Giving Hearts Day‘s Impact
Giving Hearts Day donations have allowed us to offer a variety of foods, including protein-rich items. Also, we offer toilet paper and soap to each household. Over 2,400 households received support thanks to 2018 Giving Hearts Day donations!
A Memorable Donation
An eight-year-old girl held a “Birthday Bag for the Pantry” party. For her birthday, she asked her friends to bring cake mixes, frosting and a blank card. At her birthday party, they assembled the items into “Birthday Bags,” which were donated to the pantry. We continue the program and are able to offer a “Birthday Bag” for children in the families we serve. If a family comes in for a food cart and their child has a birthday within two months of their visit, they can circle that option on a menu and receive a “Birthday Bag” so that their child doesn’t have to go without those things on their special day.
What Emergency Food Pantry Could Do With More Donations
With additional funds, we would be able to provide a larger quantity of items and a variety of food. Much of the food we distribute is donated, but we wish to build in more nutritious options that we can have consistently.
Unique Ways To Help
Fresh fruits and vegetables! As you plan your gardens, consider planting extra for the Emergency Food Pantry.
I have been in my current role for three years, with nearly 10 years of similar work a decade ago. It has been amazing to see how local organizations are open to collaboration and support one another. We have re-established the Cass Clay Hunger Coalition and held a documentary showing and a Hunger & Health Summit this fall. We are building connections and using each organization’s strengths to improve lives.
- $1 provides four meals
- $10 would feed two households. *Like Cynthia’s, whose need stemmed from tragedy the week she became a widow.
- $21 would feed *Jonathon, his sister and parents when a car repair bill left them with no food until payday.
- $45 would feed *Jennifer, her family and her sister’s children while assisting with a family member recovering from cancer.
More Basic Needs In The FM Area
“Our resources grew by 40 percent, and we were able to provide school books to 33,500 kids in the slums in Andhra Pradesh, India, this past year because of Giving Hearts Day! We were also able to place over 100 wells in impoverished villages with no clean water, bringing our total to 900 wells in five years!” – Tracy Alin, Principal Officer
“People might be surprised that we need their support and help with beautifying our spaces used to serve the kids and families in our programs. Our spaces are meant to be used to the maximum capacity to serve our community, and that means wear and tear on the building both inside and outside. Help with some landscaping, painting and sign repairs among other things is needed.” – James Nagbe, Development Director
“We are 100 percent volunteer driven. Everyone on the board and on the volunteer committee is volunteering. This means 100 percent of the net revenue is returned to the community.” – Bob Stromberg, Chairman
“It is rewarding to see single mothers who don’t have a lot of hope when they come into our program and watch them work toward earning a degree, operate with a renewed sense of hope and become better parents as a result of the resources and time we’re investing in their future.” – Coiya Tompkins, Director of Development
“Since 1991, we have built 60 homes in our community and helped build 37 international homes through our tithing program. In our early stages, we were building one home per year or one every other year, with no paid staff. During the past 10 years, we’ve been able to build three to four homes per year.” – Pete Christopher, Resource Development and Marketing Manager
“We were recently contacted by a woman interested in getting unused Bison football tickets to veterans. In the span of 24 hours, what started as an email and a phone call turned into a radio interview and a news story. The outpouring of support from the community was awesome and enough tickets were donated to ensure every veteran in Project HART could get to NDSU vs. Colgate along with veterans across our community.” – Chris Althoff, Program Manager
“Roughly 60 families per month visit our pantry. We give out 400 backpacks per month and provide close to 500 hours of counseling services per year. REACH also provides vouchers to our thrift store for clothing and household accessories.” – Peggie Chisholm, Executive Director
“Without Rebuilding Together, struggling homeowners, often elderly individuals and those living with a disability, would not have access to assistance in maintaining the safety of their homes.” – Beth Jansen, Development Director
“We are always in need of unused household supplies, like laundry soap, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. SENDCAA helps more than 95 households move into permanent housing each year. The majority of these households cannot afford to purchase the supplies that we take for granted. SENDCAA provides household move-in baskets to each household when supplies are available.” – Sarah Hasbargen, Self Sufficiency Program Coordinator
“As a non-profit, you always need more money… but you can’t buy passionate people. Inspired people who are willing to give their time and talent to helping share the need is irreplaceable!” – Maureen Bartelt, Board President
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