The work of the United Way and North Country Food Bank’s food shelf program in Crookston makes a real difference in the lives of people struggling, and in the success of the community.  North Country’s food shelf program, with the help of funding from the United Way, provides food to more than 250 families struggling with hunger each month.

Lori Wagner, executive director for the United Way, shared a story about such family.  “Said one young father – I didn’t know how I was going to put food on the table for my family this week – after making the trek by foot across town in subzero temperatures to get food to his family,” said Wagner.  “He was new to the community and struggling as they were just getting settled.  He kept thanking the volunteers and apologizing for needing help.  He explained that he didn’t nowhere else to turn and no other options to get immediate help for his family.”

It’s a story shared a hundred times.  On this day it was a struggling young family just starting out and living on a very tight, fixed budget.  Tomorrow, it may be the senior citizen who has worked hard his whole life for everything he has ever had, who served our country, who always pitched in and helped, and who now, for the first time in his life, finds himself in a situation where he needs help. The next day, it may be a young, single mother just trying to get keep a roof over her family’s head and food on the table.

Wagner says the food shelf program provides access to healthy, nutritious food.  “There are many reasons why North Country’s food shelf program and the United Way are working across the community every day to make sure that our neighbors and friends – including seniors, children, families, and veterans – don’t have to wonder if and when they will eat again,” said Wagner.  “North Country’s food shelf program, with the help of the United Way seeks to make sure those struggling with hunger have access to healthy, nutritious food right when they need it.”

 “The impact of providing struggling families with food is huge,” said Susie Novak, North Country’s Executive Director.  “It gives our families some stability and security knowing they are going to have access to the food they need each month,” said Novak.    There is no benefit to letting someone struggle with hunger.  Hunger has a huge negative impact on health, on children’s behavior and growth, and on the productivity of employees to name a few.  The United Way and North Country believe by working together as a community to address hunger issues, we are helping to give a child the chance to succeed at school, an employee the chance to do well at work, and a senior citizen the chance to remain healthy and independent. 

Take a look around.  Someone you know, someone you work with, someone your kids go to school with, someone from your neighborhood, depends on help from North Country and the United Way on a regular basis.  Hunger isn’t somewhere else.  Hunger isn’t happening only in other communities or big cities.  Hunger is right here – hurting our community, our families, our friends, our children, and our senior citizens.  Please join the United Way and North Country’s food shelf program in their fight against hunger by volunteering, donating and advocating against hunger in your community.  It is through your generous support that we are able to bring out the best in all of us!  Every dollar counts.  Every person who helps makes a difference.  And, every person we help matters!