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Despite Strong North Dakota Economy, Food Shelf Use is Growing

PHOTO: Food shelf use in North Dakota is up 6.5% this year. Courtesy Hunger Solutions Minnesota.
PHOTO: Food shelf use in North Dakota is up 6.5% this year. Courtesy Hunger Solutions Minnesota.
November 13, 2012

FARGO, N.D. - Despite North Dakota's oil boom and low jobless rate, people there still struggle to put food on the table. Jessica Arneson, agency relations manager with the Great Plains Food Bank, says the number seeking help through Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota programs this year is up.

"We have about 200 partner agencies, which include food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, group homes and other feeding sites serving low-income families or individuals. Overall, our food-shelf partners have seen an increase of about six and a half percent this year."

The best way people can help is to contact their local food shelf and ask what is needed most: donations of money or food, or their time as a volunteer, she adds.

In western North Dakota, Arneson says, as costs of gas, medicine and housing continue to rise, food shelves are seeing those who came to find work, as well as locals on fixed incomes.

"A lot of people who are seeking food assistance are those new to the area, but we also have people who have lived in those areas their whole life and now the cost of living for them has gotten very, very high."

More information is available at www.greatplainsfoodbank.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND