Agency profiles will continue each Wednesday.

    Note to readers: The 2019 United Way of Crookston fundraising campaign officially kicks off with the Oct. 15 Soup & Chili Cook-Off & Chocolate Extravaganza at CHS. Wednesday’s throughout the campaign, the Times will feature a different United Way community partner agency profile. Up first today is North Country Food Bank.

    The work of the United Way and North Country Food Bank in Crookston is making a huge impact on the lives of people struggling, and in the success of the community.  Even though you may not fully understand the work going on behind the scenes at the United Way and North Country, you would definitely notice if they were not here doing their work.  

    “Thank you so much,” was the whispered response from a young, struggling mother when she received apples, watermelons, corn, carrots, meat and bread from a recent North Country food distribution.  Her family was in a tough financial situation.  She was in tears as volunteers kept helping her fill bags full of food to take home to her children.  She kept thanking the volunteers and apologizing for needing help.  She explained that she didn’t know where else to turn and had no other options to put food on the table for her children.

    It’s a story shared a hundred times.  It’s a story of a young, struggling mother living on a very tight, fixed budget.  One small change – in the costs of prescriptions and health care, gas, clothes, heating, electricity, fuel and/or housing – can put her in a situation where she doesn’t have enough money for all the necessities for her family.  She has to make tough choices, and, when forced to choose, she often has to forgo food.  North Country is working hard to make sure nobody has to face these impossible choices.

    “The impact of providing struggling families with food is huge,” said Susie Novak, North Country’s Executive Director.  “It gives our families some stability and security knowing they are going to have access to the food they need each month,” said Novak.   

    There is no benefit to letting someone struggle with hunger.  Hunger has a huge negative impact on health, on children’s behavior and growth, and on the productivity of employees to name a few.  The United Way and North Country believe by working together as a community to address hunger issues, we are helping to give a child the chance to succeed at school, an employee the chance to do well at work, and a senior citizen the chance to remain healthy and independent.  

    Each year, the United Way provides funding that allows North Country to distribute more food in the community.  United Way funds help North Country with its operations and programs, including the food shelf, the backpack program, and produce distribution to name a few.   It is through the support of many individuals and strong partners like the United Way that North Country is able to accomplish the daunting task of making sure nobody in the Crookston community has to wonder where their next meal will come from.  

    Take a look around.  Someone you know, someone you work with, someone your kids go to school with, someone from your neighborhood, depends on help from North Country and the United Way on a regular basis.  Hunger isn’t somewhere else.  Hunger isn’t happening only in other communities or big cities.  Hunger is right here – hurting our community, our families, our friends, our children, and our senior citizens.  By joining together to address hunger head-on and deciding to make a difference, we bring out the very best in all of us.  At the same time, we give the best gift…HOPE!  We give hope for a better future.  

    North Country works every single day to make sure our family, friends, neighbors, children, veterans and senior citizens have enough to eat.  Please join the United Way and North Country in their fight against hunger by volunteering, donating and advocating against hunger in your community.  It is through your generous support that we are able to bring out the best in all of us!  Every dollar counts.  Every person who helps makes a difference.  And, every person we help matters!