FARGO, N.D. – Due to unforeseen challenges faced by many as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Plains Food Bank witnessed an unprecedented need for food assistance across North Dakota and western Minnesota last year.
During 2020, the Great Plains Food Bank provided food for 17.7 million meals to those in need, which is nearly five million meals more than 2019, and served a total of 145,587 individuals, which is more than 43,000 more than one year ago. Each of these increases are records in the long 38-year history of the Great Plains Food Bank.
“These were sobering numbers to see,” Great Plains Food Bank President Melissa Sobolik said. “We knew that it was a difficult year for so many, but this really puts things into perspective. These are historic gains and so many of those we served in 2020 were seeking a food box for the first time. I am proud of our organization, with the support of thousands of community hunger relief partners, for being able to step up and fill the need. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go to continue to fill this demand, and community support for our organization has never been more crucial.”
Hunger is now impacting one in six individuals throughout the region. In total, the Great Plains Food Bank distributed more than 21 million pounds of food last year, which was also a record.