Families are hungry. Adults have to make difficult choices on whether to pay for food or bills. Children have to make choices on when to eat their one meal a day — if they are lucky enough to receive that one meal.
By Chris Slone
According to the Great Plains Food Bank, which serves a cross-section of individuals and families across North Dakota — including the Bowman Slope County Community Cupboard and the Adams County Food Pantry — 53 percent of adults skip meals regularly. Eight percent of children have admitted to skipping meals regularly. Twenty-seven percent of their clients have reported not eating a meal for an entire day.
“The reason I wanted to get these statistics out in the public is because snap (food stamps) has been cut,” Maureen Rex, president of Bowman Slope County Community Cupboard, said, “People received notice that starting in October, they are receiving their adjusted rate.
“I don’t know if this is across the board cut or if people are being cut according to members of their family. One person told me they were cut $8 and she’s a senior by herself.”
Those same statistics provided by the Great Plains Food Bank show tough choices many North Dakotans are making. Forty-nine percent of their clients choose between food and gas at least once a month, 44 percent choose between food and utilities at least once a month, 35 percent choose between food and housing every month and 34 percent choose between food and transportation at least once a month.
“People are going to be in need of food that haven’t come to the community cupboard before,” Rex said. “I just want to let them know that they’re not alone. We have people that come twice of month. Our opening is every third Wednesday from 3-5 p.m.”
The Bowman Slop County Cupboard is open the third Tuesday of every month from 11 a.m. until noon and the third Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. The Adams County Food Pantry is open the first and third Wednesday of every month from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Rex said they welcome families from other communities as long as those families only visit one food pantry. They aren’t allowed to visit multiple pantries a month.
Rex also said the community cupboard also had more than just food. They have paper towels as well as toiletries, tooth paste, tooth brushes, laundry soap and bleach for cleaning.
“It’s pretty much the basics that they would pay cash for and since their cash is being cut, they could come to us for help on those things,” Rex said.
Rex said they also provide snacks to students at the school.
“We provide the latchkey kids with snacks after school because they are very, very hungry by the time they get out of school,” Rex said. “We’re also talking to the school about providing a food pantry. They can stop in and take some fruit or some energy bars home with them.
“We also take care of the younger kids for a snack during the day.”