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Great Plains Food Bank announces community partners for outstanding efforts in hunger relief

April 14, 2015 – The Great Plains Food Bank, a program of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, has named three statewide partners as 2014 Hunger Relief Champions. Those recognized are Hugh Dufner, Cash Wise Foods (Fargo, Moorhead), and John Deere Electronic Solutions, all because of their longstanding partnerships with the Great Plains Food Bank and their extraordinary contributions and organization-wide commitment to end hunger.

“Their incredible support that has been demonstrated in so many ways over the years, heartfelt compassion for our many neighbors struggling with hunger, and belief in the work that we do embodies the spirit of this award,” said Steve Sellent, program director for the Great Plains Food Bank. “As we move closer to our vision of hunger-free communities, we are honored to have these organizations helping lead the way.”

Hugh’s Gardens, owned and operated by Hugh Dufner and Carmen Soria-Dufner, demonstrate their passion for ending hunger every week with deliveries of surplus produce. Since 1987, the Great Plains Food Bank has been the beneficiary of generous donations of fresh and nutritious certified organic potatoes, which are then distributed through its partner network of food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters statewide. Just since 2000, Hugh’s Gardens has donated an incredible 3.2 million pounds of potatoes as part of its charitable efforts. Hugh and Carmen believe it’s their responsibility to give back and share their abundance with others less fortunate.

Cash Wise Foods in Fargo and Moorhead has been partnering with the Great Plains Food Bank for 24 years, serving as one of the original donors to its perishable food recovery efforts, Daily Bread. In total, more than 1.5 million pounds of surplus shelf-stable and perishable food items have been donated for use by the charitable feeding network throughout Cass and Clay counties. Beyond food, Cash Wise Foods has contributed more than $30,000, raised through in-store customer campaign promotions and community driven food drive events. In total, food for 1.37 million meals has been provided to hungry neighbors in need.

John Deere Electronic Solutions stepped forward as partners with the Great Plains Food Bank as part its 175th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone and demonstrate its commitment to address world hunger, John Deere Electronic Solutions’ financial support has allowed the Great Plains Food Bank to extend the school-year BackPack throughout the summer, ensuring chronically hungry children have the food they need during school break when other food resources are not available. John Deere employees have shared more than 600 hours of their time assembling 13,500 backpacks, repacking bulk food items, labeling products and sorting food drive items. The impact of their efforts has been felt by nearly 1,800 children who have been equipped to learn and grow as a result of more than 67,000 meals provided.

Hugh’s Gardens, Cash Wise Foods and John Deere Electronic Solutions are commended for their creativity, passion and service, and invitations to employees, members and other like-minded community entities to join them in their work to alleviate hunger. Past Hunger Relief Champions include: Bremer Bank, The Pampered Chef, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Fill the Dome, Hornbacher’s, West Acres Development, Congressman Earl Pomeroy, Senator Byron Dorgan, Jenni Monson, Walmart, Microsoft, North Dakota Community Action Partnership, Marti Sunderlin, National Association of Letter Carriers, Fargo Rotary Club, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd (Moorhead), CHS, Inc., Hope Lutheran Church (Fargo) and SunMart Foods/Nash Finch Foundation.

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