Northlands Rescue Mission's Feed the Need program awarded 2019 Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant
Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019
A twice-monthly mobile food pantry effort in Grand Forks added to emergency homeless shelter Northlands Rescue Mission's Feed the Need program has been named the 2019 recipient of NDAD’s $5,000 Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant.
The grant is named for NDAD’s late co-founder and longtime program services leader, who died in 2014. NDAD awards the grant to a nonprofit organization or agency for a health, welfare, social service or educational purpose to help at-risk populations. More about the Faye Gibbens and the grant HERE
“We’re pretty excited. . . . That was pretty awesome,” said Sue Shirek, executive director of Northlands Rescue Mission, in an interview Tuesday. “We’re very thankful and appreciative.”
Shirek said Feed the Need will have a mobile food pantry twice monthly that extends its existing food pantry services to local people with food insecurity issues who lack traditional means of access and have yet to participate in the program.
Feed the Need will be a partnership between Northlands, Great Plains Food Bank and, tentatively, Hope Community Center & Food Pantry.
Northlands already serves three meals daily at its downtown Grand Forks mission, 420 Division Ave., to as many as 150 shelter men and women homeless clients daily, with lunch and dinner also open to the community. At the mission on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, it provides food baskets. Eligible households may obtain one food basket a month.
In its grant proposal, Northlands said its food mission won’t change but “where . . . and how we provide the service would just change to meet the needs of our clients.” By doing so, Shirek said, the partnership can reduce the meal gap in Grand Forks proper by roughly half, and perhaps eventually have an impact in smaller neighboring communities.
Shirek said the goal is meet the community in need “where they’re at.”
With NDAD’s Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant money, Northlands will purchase several heavy-duty commercial-grade coolers that can transport frozen and refrigerated items and meet food safety standards, plus buy some fuel for its van and provide some minimal advertising.
The mobile program will use one day to set up “pop-up” pantries in several locations more accessible to area residents in need, and another day to deliver food baskets directly to the doors of elderly residents, individuals with disabilities, families in need with small children and people with no transportation, poverty, or other barriers.
“We’re seeing lots of people who would be eligible but can’t or don’t (get food baskets) because they don’t have transportation to get to the site or can’t carry a heavy load back to a bus stop, or get it home otherwise,” Shirek said. Weather conditions during winter further compound access issues, she said, and warm summer conditions can be a threat to food supplies, too.
Feed the Need’s mobile component also will lead to substantially less waste of perishable food resources obtained via the partnership.
In addition to food baskets, Feed the Need intends to provide clients with information about other available resources in the community.
“We know that hunger and homelessness go hand in hand, and there’s a fine line between the two. As we reduce hunger needs, how else can we address issues in the community that are preventative issues (and) not just put out fires and put a Band-Aid on it,” Shirek said. “Dealing with the homeless issues involves prevention, it involves dealing with the issues at hand, it involves preventing further issues into being homeless. You have to look at the whole spectrum . . . and look at what else we can do if we’re going to get a good handle on the whole piece of the pie.”
For more information about Northlands Rescue Mission: https://northlandsrescuemission.org