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Volunteers Kathy Theil, left, and Mary Carlson, both Minot, lend a helping hand at the Lord’s Cupboard Gardens north of Velva. Produce from the garden helps feed needy families in Minot and Ward County. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)
Volunteers Kathy Theil, left, and Mary Carlson, both Minot, lend a helping hand at the Lord’s Cupboard Gardens north of Velva. Produce from the garden helps feed needy families in Minot and Ward County. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

Lord's Cupboard Garden -- Volunteers and Tears

Kim Fundingsland
 August 4, 2022
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VELVA – A great harvest for an even greater cause – feeding those in need in Minot and Ward County. 

Produce harvested from raised gardens north of here is distributed five days a week at the Lord’s Cupboard Food Pantry in Minot. Dedicated volunteers planted the vegetables, maintained the gardens during the growing season, and are now harvesting the rewards. 

“We are thrilled to be able to have fresh produce for people, and they love it too,” said Mary Carlson, Minot, while picking fresh tomatoes from a raised garden. “Good for them, and good for us. It’s such a good project.” 

Tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli – twenty-nine different vegetables in all, are destined for the tables of those who are grateful to receive them. 

“It makes it all worthwhile when you see people enjoying it at the Lord’s Cupboard,” said Pastor Gerald Roise, Minot. “It completes the circle. It’s one thing to grow things, but when you see other people receive it, and appreciate it, it really makes it worthwhile.” 

 

Pastor Gerald Roise, Minot, harvests cucumbers from a raised garden. The fresh vegetables will be distributed at the Lord’s Cupboard Food Pantry in Minot. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

According to Roise, the Lord’s Cupboard serves 400 families per week, including some that are on a new home delivery option staffed by necessary volunteers. 

Many of the plants at the garden, said Roise, were donated, which helped reduce expenses at the pantry. Roise gave a special thank you to Lowe’s Garden Center and the Green Thumb Greenhouse for their generosity.  

Roise was also proud to show off a new irrigation system that is operated through the convenience of Wi-Fi, donated by Souris River Telephone. It’s a system he credits with creating a bountiful harvest, one that will benefit food pantry families. 

An automated watering system was installed at the Lord’s Cupboard Gardens this year. The Wi-Fi necessary to operate the system was donated and installed by Souris River Telephone of Minot. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

“It works extremely well,” explained Roise. “We used to drag hoses and wear our volunteers out. Now we just grab our telephone and flip a switch. We never have dry vegetables.” 

Volunteers to tears, it’s all part of the Lord’s Cupboard experience. 

“We have people that are so grateful they have tears in their eyes sometimes,” said Carlson. “They give back again when they have better times. We don’t turn anyone away that has a need. They just have to sign up and live in Ward County. We’re happy to welcome anyone that needs help.” 

Volunteer Leslie Coughlin, Minot, works at removing a head of cabbage from its nest of leaves. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

The gardens are located on the Duane Brekke farmstead. He jokingly refers to himself as the “recycle guy,” especially when talking about the construction of the gardens. He used steel I-beams to build tracks along the entire length of the garden. The tracks make it easy to wheel a working platform from one end of the long gardens to the other. 

“Some of the materials out here are about 120 years old,” laughed Brekke. “The posts used to support the gardens came from the Great Northern Railroad. I bought them at the ore docks in Duluth, 4,000 of them. They weigh about 45 pounds apiece.” 

As for the volunteers and their dedicated work, Brekke expressed it this way. 

“It’s amazing. They just love it,” said Brekke. 

Fresh produce is arranged neatly for distribution at the Lord’s Cupboard Food Pantry. Volunteers, L-R, are Annamarie Shimento, Pat Jolson, Mary Zupetz, Joanne Roise, and Vicki Pippen. All are from Minot. (Photo: Submitted)

The Lord’s Cupboard is located at 1725 Burdick Expressway West in Minot. Anyone wishing to volunteer some time to the pantry should call them at 839-1990. The Lord’s Cupboard is open Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays. 

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