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Amen Food Pantry fills up

Press Photo by Katherine Grandstrand Underneath the mountain of food, shown here Tuesday, is a table that is usually left empty so patrons can fill boxes with food at the Amen Food Pantry. 1 / 3
On Sept. 7, Amen Food Pantry manager Susie Kaperlovitz demonstrates how empty the pantry was.2 / 3
The same corner brimming full on Dec. 31 is a testament to the generosity of the community of Dickinson. 3 / 3

For the first time in its history, the Amen Food Pantry is full. Not just full until the next delivery, but full for the next few months.

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“This is the first time since I’ve been on the board — and I’ve been on the board for about 27 years — we are totally full,” said Ron Keller, president of the volunteer board that runs the pantry. “In fact, we’re over full. We’re overstocked.

“We don’t have anyplace to put it anymore.”

While donations were at an all-time high, so were distributions, Keller said.

“In November — we haven’t even got to December’s numbers yet — but in November we gave out 9,900 pounds of food,” Keller said. “Prior to that, when we reached 7,900 pounds, those were records. We’re giving it out generously.”

Because the pantry is there to serve emergency needs, it doesn’t get a lot of repeat customers, Keller said. Those records are being set helping more and more people each month.

Kicked off with the Canartopia event in October, the churches, schools, businesses and people of Dickinson donated generously this holiday season.

“Canartopia just absolutely opened so many other avenues, other people, other businesses just have been generous, and right now all I can tell you is that we’re overwhelmed,” Keller said.

With the switch from Dan’s Supermarket to Econofoods, all of the “Everyday Essentials” labeled items needed to leave the store and were donated to the Amen Food Pantry, said Susie Kaperlovitz, manager of the pantry.

“They donated two truck loads to the pantry,” Kaperlovitz said. “So we’ve got brooms and mops and cleaning supplies and paper products. We are very, very, very well stocked.”

Amen Food Pantry is able to pass the generosity on by supporting other area food banks, like the Beach Food Pantry.

“We’re always grateful to all the donations — anything we can get,” said Pastor Scott Hojnacki of St. Paul’s Lutheran church in Beach. The Beach Food Pantry is run by the statewide ministerial association.”We’re non-profit, we’re totally dependent upon the generosity of not only churches, but individuals.”

Eventually all of the food will be given away and the need for donations will come again, but for now, the Amen Food Pantry would appreciate monetary donations to help purchase or rent a new location to be combined with the House of Manna or for people to donate their time.

“When we get donations of food, we need people to work to put that away on the shelves and to put it out on the floor,” Kaperlovitz said. “I’m able to go up there anytime anybody wants to put in a couple of hours.”

The pantry is also looking for drivers at 2:30 p.m. Mondays to take the van up to Walmart to pick up donations, Kaperlovitz said. Anyone with a valid driver’s license can help with this task.

The community’s support has made a difference in so many people’s lives, Keller said.

“I want to absolutely thank the community a thousand times for their generosity, their caring and their help to the pantry,” Keller said.

Look for more about the collaboration of House of Manna and the Amen Food Pantry in the Accent section of Sunday’s The Dickinson Press.

To make a monetary donation or to set up volunteer hours call the Amen Food Pantry at 701-483-4344 or RSVP+ at 701-227-8421

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206