Freezin’ for a Reason event planned

Members of Minot State University’s Student Social Work Organization hope to collect even more food for the homeless this year than they did last year, said Lindsay Fleming, chair of this year’s Freezin’ for a Reason event.

Last year the group collected 2,204 pounds of food, which was donated to Community Action and distributed to area food pantries.

Social work club members will be set up in the Town and County Shopping Center parking lot from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and will be collecting non-perishable food items and monetary donations.

“I think the holidays are an expensive time for people so the need goes up,” said Fleming. “With the influx of people in our state, the need just goes up that much more.”

Mac McLeod, executive director of the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, said the need is greater than he has ever seen before. Recently, he had to put people on a waiting list to get assistance because the need exceeded the funding that is available at the Minot Area Homeless Coalition.

“That has never happened as long as I have been executive director,” said McLeod.

Last year the organization served more than 6,000 people in eight counties and McLeod believes those numbers will continue to grow. People are living on the edge due to increased housing and food prices, he said. McLeod said many people are visiting soup kitchens and food pantries to subsidize one meal of the day.

Because the federal government recently reduced food stamp benefits for needy families, the need is likely to be worse. McLeod said he likely won’t know the complete impact of the food stamp reduction until next year.

The Minot Area Homeless Coalition tries to help people stay in their homes and also provide help with necessities such as lifesaving medications.

McLeod praised the Student Social Work Organization for running Freezin’ for a Reason. It is in its 11th year this year and keeps growing, as students try to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in northwest North Dakota.