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Jon Knutson, Published November 20 2009

Truck donated to food bank

A newly donated $85,000 refrigerated truck will help the Great Plains Food Bank meet growing demand for food assistance, an official says.

“There’s more need, and we’re getting help to meet it,” said Steve Sellent, program director for the Fargo-based Great Plains Food Bank.

Walmart donated the $85,000 truck, along with 12 pallets of food, in a ceremony Thursday in Fargo.

The truck will end up in Bismarck, where the Great Plains Food Bank will use it to deliver surplus food.

The truck now used in Bismarck by the Great Plains Food Bank will be used in other communities across the state for food recovery and distribution.

Great Plains Food Bank, a program of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, recovers surplus food and groceries, which it delivers to 235 food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other charitable feeding programs statewide.

Great Plains Food Bank has seen a 19 percent increase in the number of visits to food shelves in the first three quarters of the year, Sellent said.

But increased help from Walmart and others is allowing Great Plains to meet the greater need, he said.

This year, Walmart will donate enough food to provide more than 400,000 meals across North Dakota, he said.

Walmart has a strong commitment to Great Plains Food Bank, said Arch Allison, Walmart’s North Dakota market manager.

The truck delivered Thursday in Fargo is one of 35 trucks being delivered to food banks nationwide. The trucks are part of Walmart’s $32 million holiday giving campaign, Walmart said.

In the past year, Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations nationwide have donated more than 90 million pounds of food, or the equivalent of 70 million meals, to food banks, Walmart said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530