North Dakota Nice takes on new meaning as community comes together to fill empty food pantry

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 7:41 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota Nice has taken on a whole new meaning this holiday season. This story shows how one person can really make a difference.

Jeff Gooss is taking calls from all across the state. He’s responding to an issue he uncovered when he dropped off a personal donation at his local shelter and food pantry: empty shelves.

“When I left, I actually teared up. I was pretty moved,” said Beulah police officer Jeff Gooss.

Officer Gooss asked the community for help. He hit the road. His journey took him to Bismarck to pick up hundreds of pounds of meat.

Beulah food pantry
Beulah food pantry(KFYR-TV)

“It’s nice to see something that comes across and grabs your heart strings. So, we called him up and said hey, if you can make it to Bismarck, we would love to help you out and fill your coolers,” said Rob Palmer general manager for Dvorak Motors in Bismarck.

Donations from meat to loaves of bread have come from both near and far.

“One of my local drug store owners overheard me talking in Ace Hardware. Next thing I know I had a text that said, ‘hey, we have refrigerators for you,’ so I have to try to figure out how to hook up a trailer to my squad car,” said officer Gooss.

Now, the pantry at the Women’s Action Resource Center (WARC) is filling up. Officer Gooss said the biggest response was that people hadn’t realized the need, or what was needed.

“When you look at our community and know all the things that are there for food pantries that are filling up for our community and then you see a facility in a smaller community that is in that much need. It is very difficult to see. Anything anybody can do to help in those smaller communities is just a wonderful thing,” added Palmer.

The food pantry and shelter provide more assistance in the community.

“I have called them in the middle of the night for victims of domestic violence. Obviously, we have worked with them when it comes to sexual assault. We have had them help move people in the middle of the night,” added officer Gooss.

The good news: In four days, officer Gooss says they have gathered nearly 4,000 pounds of food, thousands of additional dollars in cash donations, two refrigerators, and a hunter in Upham even donated an entire moose.

This has been the largest food drive in the WARC’s history.

Beulah’s WARC shelter served 92 households with 108 children in November, which is a 74% increase over previous averages. Officer Gooss says many of the donations were from people affected by domestic abuse or sexual assault. His goal is to have every single food pantry in his region packed by Christmas.

More information on donations can be found on the Beulah Police Facebook page or by calling your local pantry.

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