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Emergency Food Pantry Seeing Nearly Double The Need

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Startling statistics are coming out of the Emergency Food Pantry in Fargo. Each year, they're serving more and more people. Last year was a record breaking number, and this year, they're on track to almost double that.

It's grocery day for the Paul family. A frozen pizza and some snacks put smiles on little Madyson and Myah's faces. To them, it's a day at grocery store, but for their parents, it's swallowing their pride.

William Paul of Fargo says, “That's my thing in life is to provide for them, and I'll do it any way I can.”

They're shopping at the Emergency Food Pantry.

William says, “The numbers didn't match up.”

Hard times and falling behind on rent means they had to choose where to spend their money. The same goes for Lee Jenkis of Moorhead.

“I'm a hard worker, I've always provided for myself, and right now I'm injured,” says Lee.

It’s a different story that’s leading to the same problem. More people than ever in Cass and Clay counties are needing help.

Emergency Food Pantry Administrator, Greg Diehl, says, “We're seeing a lot of people moving to the area, moving to North Dakota, hearing about the good economic times, but a lot of them are moving without a job, without a place to live.”

Last year, they served around 30,000 people. This year, they're on track to double that.

“It is a bit frightening for us,” says Diehl.

Even with the increase, the shelves are staying stocked.

Diehl says, “The community always steps forward when there's a need.”

Generosity, that's keeping stomachs full of food and hearts with overwhelming gratitude.

William says, “Thankfully there's a place like this that will help us out and be there for us when no one else will.”

The food pantry is trying a new tactic to help cut down on costs and waste. Last Wednesday, they started a new "shopping" style of food distribution. This allows people to choose items that they know they'll eat, along with picking items off the shelves themselves. This gives them the feel of grocery shopping and allows them to take certain types of food they know they'll eat and not throw away.

Amy Unrau

Amy is proud to be a Red River Valley native and cover stories that matter to her community. She was raised in Hallock, Minnesota and received her degree at the University of North Dakota where she participated in the student run TV show Studio One. In college, Amy met her husband, WDAY’s Jody Norstedt, while interning at WDAZ in Grand Forks. She started at WDAY in April 2014 and is currently WDAY'Z Xtra News at Nine's anchor and producer. Have a news idea? Amy would love to share your story or investigate an issue you’re concerned about.

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