A volunteer stocks the shelves at the Pantry

For over 30 years the Bismarck Emergency Food Pantry has been filling a need in the community. Churches, businesses, scouting groups, individuals, local organizations and the Postal Service all make sure the shelves remained stocked by providing food and/or monetary donations. “Some people will go shopping and buy one or two hundred dollars worth of groceries and just bring them in,” said Shirley Fox, co-chair. “The postal drive is our biggest contribution.”

The Food Pantry is run strictly by volunteers. “Our only expense is rent and phone,” explained Theresa Scheetz, co-chair.

Some of the items the pantry always needs are: toilet paper, peanut butter, pancake mix, syrup, tuna, macaroni and cheese, cereal, sugar and ketchup. They buy what they need to make sure they are providing a good balance. A family of four probably gets around $130 worth of groceries, including meat and dairy products.
The pantry does receive fresh produce in the summer from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Hunger Free ND Garden Project, otherwise they always have apples and carrots on hand. “There is also a farmer up by Garrison that sends us corn and squash,” said Fox.

When someone comes into the Food Pantry, they must go through an interview to determine their need. Sometimes there are people who aren’t always honest, but they don’t turn very many away. “We encourage people to do something for themselves and not become dependent on us,” explained Fox. “We are here to help them through a bad patch.”

They have seen quite an increase in need over the past few years. “In 2006 we averaged about 30 families a month and now we serve around 150,” said Scheetz. “We see a lot of people who have relocated and don’t have jobs yet.”

If you are interested in volunteering or donating, please contact Shirley or Theresa at the Pantry, information is below.

Bismarck Emergency Food Pantry: 258.9188 / 725 Memorial Highway, Bismarck 58504
Open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1 – 4 pm.
Monetary donations can be mailed.