MINOT – The Lord’s Cupboard has been feeding a lot of people in Minot for many years.
Gerald Roise, chairman of The Lord’s Cupboard Food Pantry board, said the food pantry has regular volunteers as well as those that come in from other organizations to help, as First Western Bank and Trust did during Christmas time of 2022.
Roise said the pantry has around 200 volunteers a year that make it happen. Around 10 people per day help out, many who are consistent, though none work all week.
“We’re grateful for them, all the way from youth groups who help come sort food,” said Roise. “There’s a whole different group of people that work Thursday versus Mondays. It helps prevent burnout and try to give everyone a chance to help out.”
Roise said the work can be addictive, seeing many businesses that come in with many of the people volunteering wanting to do it again. While that helps the pantry physically, it’s also good for spreading the word to entities in the area about the food pantry.
“That community awareness is so key,” Roise added.
The pantry serves 400 families every week, which Roise estimates is around 1,000 individuals. Each family can only come once per week, and receive food according to how many are in the family.
“We’re never trying to judge whether they’re worthy of it or not,” said Roise. “The important piece is the joy in the giving.”
A lot of the food is purchased through grants that people and organizations of the community donate, such as the Minot Area Community Foundation. Much of the purchased food comes from Great Plains Food Bank in Fargo, where The Lord’s Cupboard can get the food for half price.
Some of the food is donated from places like Olive Garden which gives The Lord’s Cupboard its soup at the end of the day, instead of throwing it out.
The Lord’s Cupboard spent around $100,000 through September 2022 above monetary donations received.
“Budget-wise it’s really stretching us, and our warehouse is pretty full,” said Roise.
Most of the consistent volunteers are retired, with one who is a retired IRS personnel who does the pantry’s IRS paperwork, and one who works on all the inventory.
“Most people here have been in need themselves in some way, and they feel so rewarded to help others,” said Roise.
There is also a lot of giving, as Roise described one family who stopped by and dropped off a $25,000 check.
“It’s amazing the generosity of folks, because they understand what’s going on,” said Roise.
Roise said it is probably common knowledge that The Lord’s Cupboard plans to move into a newer and bigger place this coming April, partnering with Project BEE in its new apartment family shelter housing on the south Broadway property that will become Broadway Circle. The new place will allow much of the food to be stacked with a fork lift, whereas at the moment it’s stacked by volunteers. Roise said the pantry will still need volunteers.
“I can’t accomplish anything without those volunteers,” said Roise.
Roise said a man upon his death recently willed millions of dollars to The Lord’s Cupboard after living as a poor man and receiving food from it, though he was wealthy. Much of those funds will be put into the project of the new place.
“That’s the story I tell when someone starts getting torqued off about the Cadillac sitting outside and why they’re coming in and getting food here,” said Roise. “The joy isn’t in judging who gets, it’s in the giving.”
The Lord’s Cupboard also has a garden it takes care of in the summer, adding to its supply of food. The Dakotan published an article on the garden this past August.
More information on The Lord’s Cupboard can be found here.