Helping North Dakota’s only food bank fight rural hunger

Published May 20, 2020

Putting food on the table. For the Health of America.

North Dakota’s only food bank, Great Plains Food Bank, serves more than 100,000 clients a year – in normal times. But when the COVID-19 pandemic began, these numbers quickly increased between 30 - 50%. Melissa Sobolik, head of the Great Plains Food Bank, says much needed support came from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Dakota at just the right time: initial emergency funding and then the nearly $30,000 needed to buy an entire truckload of food.

Millions of Americans are out of work and facing economic challenges, and many are turning to food banks for help feeding themselves and their families. Meanwhile food banks are struggling to manage steep declines in donations, rising prices for direct food purchases and a dwindling volunteer corps.

Rural Americans face another set of challenges. North Dakota, for instance, has lost more than 15% of grocery stores in small towns. North Dakotans in nearly two thirds of the state’s counties have to drive 10, 20 or more miles to access the nearest store. If money for gas is tight, families must make tough choices. 

Situations like these are playing out in rural communities across America. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are providing support in multiple ways, including financial assistance, hands on volunteering and repurposing mobile vans and campus cafeterias to feed those in need.

Learn more about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Dakota is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Learn more about the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Caring Foundation, administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Dakota is a licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent, locally owned and operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.