Western Edge community replenishes AMEN Food Pantry with 1,000 pounds of food
On Tuesday, the AMEN Food Pantry posted a picture of its near empty shelves on Facebook. The people of Dickinson responded by organizing donation drives and giving nearly 1,000 pounds of food to help those who are less fortunate. Yet, Pantry Director Scharlie Kilzer said they are still very much in need of monetary donations.
DICKINSON — On Tuesday, the AMEN, Association to Meet Emergency Needs, Food Pantry in Dickinson made a Facebook post pleading for donations, with a picture of under-stocked shelves.
“The Amen Food Pantry has extremely empty shelves. Please help us fill them,” the post stated in part.
AMEN Pantry Director Scharlie Kilzer was astonished by the immediate outpouring of support from the community to help the poor.
“Tuesday, we had almost 1,000 pounds come in, which is amazing. Then I’ve had people reach out saying they’re going to start running food drives for us as well,” she said.
Food staples most useful to the pantry include canned vegetables, canned soup, peanut butter, ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, cereal, pasta sauce and rice.
Kilzer said that although they cannot accept homemade or self-canned items, fresh garden produce and refrigerated foods are welcome.
“We can take refrigerated items such as dairy, cheese and meat. People call and ask that a lot. That's what we use our funds on. So that's why monetary donations are such a big deal to us because we spend the donor dollars on those types of items,” she explained.
Despite the influx of boxed and canned foods, the pantry is still short on cash donations. Without specifying figures, Kilzer said monetary revenue over the past month is the lowest it’s been in the nearly two years she’s been the director. According to Kilzer, $5 can provide one meal for an entire family.
“Great Plains Food Banks… offer(s) us stuff at a very discounted price. But if we don’t have the monetary donations to buy it from them, then we just go without. That’s why our shelves have spots that are just completely empty,” Kilzer said.
According to Feeding America, an umbrella network that includes Great Plains Food Bank, a total of 51,380 North Dakota residents are currently struggling with food poverty, and 16,360 of them are children. In simpler terms, 1 in 11 North Dakota children are left hungry.
The AMEN Food Pantry is open to those in need from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Their only requirement to receive food assistance is a valid form of identification. The pantry is located at 30 Seventh St. W. in Dickinson.
“We like to say we’re off of Eighth Street West and Sims Street because if you Google us, it’ll send you to Food Riot. That’s been a difficult thing,” Kilzer said. “It’s the north side of the (St. Joe’s) Plaza, Door M.”
Donations can be dropped off at AMEN directly, as well as local businesses such as Nodak Insurance, 103.7 The Connection and Aflac. For more information about donating or volunteering, contact the pantry at email@example.com or 701-483-4344. There are also mini pantries scattered throughout the area, including one in Killdeer.