The cupboard is bare

The Our Lady of Grace Food Pantry is in need of donations of personal care items, said Joyce Sand, coordinator of the food bank located in Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.

Sand said that donations of other needed items, such as canned goods and diapers for babies, have been steady. The food bank, like others in the area, will benefit from the massive canned food drive held last week at the North Dakota State Fair and there was also a large drive held for baby diapers earlier in the summer.

“Our community is really good, cashwise and foodwise,” said Sand.

But the people served by the food pantry also often need personal care items like shampoo, deodorant or toilet paper that they can’t purchase with food stamps. The items on hand fill up a small area of one shelf in the food pantry.

The food pantry could also use more donations of meat.

The increased donations are also necessary because there is an increased demand for services.

“We’re increasing our households,” said Sand, who said there were more people than usual on Monday, perhaps because the food pantry was closed last week during the fair. “We’ve just got to keep at it (gathering donations) all the time.”

Barb Henderson, program specialist for food and nutrition at Community Action, said the shelters in Minot and the seven surrounding counties served by Community Action do appear to be in good shape right now, but donations are always appreciated.

“We can always use canned goods, especially canned goods with the pop top,” said Henderson. “We do get a lot of homeless people or people living in their car. It’s hard to give them stuff since they have no cooking facilities or anything like that.”

Henderson said the need at the pantries has been steady. She speculates that people in need may have moved out to surrounding towns in search of slightly more affordable living conditions.

Any donations made are either used at the emergency pantry or distributed to pantries in surrounding communities.

People who use the food pantry must first be screened at Community Action and receive benefits on the basis of financial guidelines.

The Our Lady of Grace Food Pantry is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. People who would like to make donations are asked to call the pantry ahead of time at 839-5520 and make arrangements to drop off items, said Sand. The number for Community Action is 839-7221.