Tis the season of giving, and one local business is challenging others in the Bismarck-Mandan area to step up and give. The Leingang Home Center used its annual Christmas party to pack bags full of food for the United Way's Backpack program.
This year more than 400 Bismarck students are in need of food outside of school meals.
Community Action's Backpack for Kids program used to give bags of food to children in need every weekend. As the number of children grew, so did the need, but donation amounts stayed the same. So the Backpack for Kids program had to cut back to every other weekend.
United Way executive members worked to fill in that gap with their own Backpack program. Asking businesses to help sponsor weekends by packing food bags or giving money.
But the Leingang Home Center did one better.
"We've dedicated enough resources to take care of two months, which is about a thousand backpacks for the kids. And we would like to challenge other businesses in town to do the same," says Mark Dettling, Leingang Home Center.
The employees were packing bags filled with items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time.
"We have hungry children out there that need, they need food on the weekends. It's very interesting to us. I was not fully aware of this problem. Until one of our employees here, his wife is a teacher in the Bismarck school system and she brought it to our attention," says Jan Frohlich, United Way.
United Way said they already have the next four weeks sponsored, but the rest of the school year is still up for grabs.
"If you can help, please help," says Dettling.
Employees said they had fun working on the food bags. The general consensus was, it feels good to give back.
United Way executive officers say the non-profit has enough funds to provide social workers in the spring to those families in the Backpack Program, because the goal is to have fewer students in each year in the program.
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