The food pantry at Dakota Prairie Community Action Agency is an emergency food pantry for many families throughout the Lake Region.

The food pantry at Dakota Prairie Community Action Agency is an emergency food pantry for many families throughout the Lake Region.

According to Julie Hovde of the DPCAA, when the weather changes, when it turns colder like it has been recently, the demand for food goes up. As people need to pay their heating bills and keep their lights on there’s less and less money for food.

On average the DPCAA gives out 900 to 1,200 pounds  of food to individuals and families every month, depending on the month.
One of the ways they can do that is the help they get from Leevers Foods and the Stuff-A-Truck program, which kicks off Monday, Nov. 5 and runs through Nov. 25 this year.

This is the 10th year of that holiday program of giving. Last year through Stuff-A-Truck they collected 1,850 lbs. of food and over $3,490 in cash donations.
The cash donations are used to purchase needed items the pantry may be running low on.

With those items they were able to do holiday food baskets for  families for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.
“We live in a very generous and giving community. The partnerships we have with other agencies, businesses and community members are important and very much appreciated,” Hovde said.

She and Louise Plemel, who’s only been with DPCAA for just a few weeks, spent the day at Leevers South on Wednesday marking shelves of items they need to help people make it through the months ahead.

Brustad is excited to announce that this year there will be two locations where you can participate in Stuff-A-Truck - Leevers Food (North) and Leevers Food (South).

What can you do?
Between Monday, Nov. 5 and Sunday Nov. 25 you can  drop off non-perishable food and toiletry items at either Leevers or make a cash donation at the register when you’re going through the check out.

Brustad said,  “One hundred percent of what is given stays in the Lake Region.”

Hovde said some of the items needed at the pantry include boxed dinners, canned items, canned meat, chili, tuna and tuna helper, spaghetti noodles and sauce. “Anything to help put a meal together,” she said.

She said toiletries are also needed, such as deodorant, diapers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper., etc.
Brustad said items will be “flagged” throughout the stores to assist customers who aren't sure what to buy and they will also have pre-bagged groceries available to purchase and donate.

But, Brustad stressed, the items do not have to be purchased at Leevers.
“The food products can come from anywhere — your home pantry, another store — it doesn't matter as long as it's not out of date, opened or damaged,” he said.

Hovde said Dakota Prairie will also be creating baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so holiday food items are also welcome, such as stuffing, pumpkin pie filling, vegetables, etc.

Brustad recalled the story of the gentleman one year who purchased a cart full of groceries totaling over $300 and donated all of the contents to the Stuff-A-Truck campaign.
“We're seeing more and more of that,” he said.

Brustad said he is excited the campaign is getting under way and he hopes it goes as well, if not better than in past years.
“It's something Leevers has taken very personally,” he said. “We look forward to it each year.”

A large bin will be placed in the front of each Leevers store and donations can be made any time during business hours.