FARGO -- The Great Plains Food Bank, a program of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, will recognize four statewide partners with its 2012 Hunger Relief Champion Award. Awards will be presented to the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fargo Rotary Club, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Men’s Group and Marti Sunderlin because of their extraordinary contributions and commitment to end hunger.
These honorees are being commended for their longstanding partnerships with the Great Plains Food Bank, their creativity, passion and service, their organization-wide commitment, and invitations to employees, members and other like-minded community entities to join them in their work to alleviate 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 individuals and organizations helping lead the way.”
The National Association of Letter Carriers has conducted Stamp Out Hunger, the country’s largest single-day food drive, since 1992. In the Cass-Clay community, the Great Plains Food Bank has been one of the recipients of these collected items, resulting in 354,782 pounds of food, which provides for more than 295,000 meals. The association’s longstanding commitment and determination to engage thousands of postal customers have been the keys to their success in the fight to end hunger.
The Fargo Rotary Club stepped forward as partners with the Great Plains Food Bank in 2010 to help fully launch the Cass-Clay BackPack Program, which ensures hungry children have access to food over the weekend when other resources are not available. In a tradition of providing service above self, the club pledged its multi-year financial commitment, promoted the program through public awareness efforts and volunteered to fill backpacks. The club’s support has been instrumental in providing a solid foundation in work aimed at tackling childhood hunger.
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd Men’s Group put its faith into action. The group, along with congregation members, has sponsored 100 children participating in the Cass-Clay BackPack Program at Robert Asp Elementary, Moorhead, since 2010. Members of the congregation volunteer monthly at the Great Plains Food Bank, assembling mobile food pantry boxes, sorting food drive products, and repacking bulk products. The Men’s Group has also challenged other congregations in the community to join them in this important ministry of ending childhood hunger, and three others have stepped forward.
Marti Sunderlin currently serves as the volunteer chair of the Great Plains Food Bank advisory committee. In this role he guides the program toward its vision of a hunger-free North Dakota, has expanded the role and functions of the committee, and helped grow current and develop new funding streams. In his position as store director for Hornbacher’s Foods in Fargo, Sunderlin serves as an ambassador for the Great Plains Food Bank. He was instrumental in significantly expanding the retail store donation program by developing more effective food recovery models now being used across the state. Sunderlin and his family give countless hours in the statewide repack center, and he invites his store employees to join him in this important work.
This is the fifth year the Great Plains Food Bank has identified partners for the Hunger Relief Champion Award. Past recipients include Bremer Banks, the Pampered Chef, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Fill the Dome, Hornbacher’s, West Acres Development, Walmart, Jenni Monson, Byron Dorgan, Earl Pomeroy, Microsoft and the North Dakota Community Action Partnership.
Celebrating its 30th year of service, the Great Plains Food Bank and its statewide partner network of food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other charitable feeding programs have distributed food for more than 16.7 million meals to children seniors and families in need since opening its doors in 1983.
What: Presentation of the Hunger Relief Champion Award to the National Association
of Letter Carriers (NALC) by the Great Plains Food Bank
When: Tuesday, March 12, 7:30 AM
Where: Prairiewood Post Office, 1455 32nd Street S, Fargo (Enter in rear of building.)
Who: Steve Sellent, program director, Great Plains Food Bank
Stephen Strayer, president, NALC Branch #205
Blake Wanner, representative of the Cass County Rural Carriers
Jeff Borgrud, event organizer, annual NALC Stamp Out Hunger food drive
About the Great Plains Food Bank
The Great Plains Food Bank engages community partners to end hunger. As the state’s largest hunger-relief provider, the Great Plains Food Bank partner network includes 265 charitable feeding programs operating in 101 communities across North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota. In 2012, the Great Plains Food Bank distributed a record 11.4 million pounds of food, touching the lives of more than 75,000 individuals – 35% being children and 14% seniors.
The Great Plains Food Bank is a program of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, a statewide social services agency serving thousands of North Dakotans in need with affordable housing, food, disaster recovery, counseling and therapy and other programs that strengthen individuals, families and communities without regard to clients’ race, religion, gender or economic status; and a member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network.