Basin Electric employees pack and deliver four tons of food

The ante was upped, but Paul Cook, web services coordinator and Basin Electric’s United Way Backpack Program coordinator, wasn’t worried.

In 2016, Basin Electric employees helped fill bags to feed 725 children in the Bismarck-Mandan (ND) area. In 2017, that number was increased to about 900.

Just as Cook surmised, Basin Electric employees turned out in large numbers as they have time and time again to do their part to help those in need. On May 18, the volunteers packed and delivered 886 bags of food to 29 schools in Bismarck, Mandan, and Lincoln.

United Way - Backpack program-Krusi

Tracey Krusi (middle) pauses amidst the action.

“We lucked out again with good weather, and volunteers ended up packing and delivering the bags faster than we did last year,” Cook says. “In total we packed and delivered about 8,000 pounds of food.”

According to Missouri Slope Areawide United Way, 27 percent of students in the region qualify for free or reduced school lunches. When school is out of session, many of these children lose access to regular, healthy meals, and spend their weekends hungry. The United Way Backpack Program sends a backpack of meals home with the kids who need it, so that they can return to school Mondays ready to learn and thrive.

“Most kids look forward to Friday because it means they’ll soon get a couple days off from school. But the kids who receive these bags see Friday as the day they get their food,” Cook says. “For some it not only feeds the individual child, but their siblings and other family members, too.”

Battling hunger outside the classroom

While the United Way backpacks help feed hungry children during the school year, only 7 percent of those children in the community are being assisted in the summertime.

To help with that, 22 Basin Electric employees had signed up as of May 31 to serve lunch every week in June and July at Lions Hillside Park in Bismarck. The free program is a partnership between Missouri Slope Areawide United Way, Bismarck and Mandan Public Schools, and the Great Plains Food Bank.

The meals are intended to reach children in the Bismarck-Mandan community who rely on school meals for breakfast and lunch during the school year, but then go hungry in the summertime.

Employees are also taking part in Casual for a Cause, where they can pay to wear jeans all summer, Memorial Day through Labor Day. The funds collected will be go to Great Plains Food Bank. As of June 2, more than 170 employees had donated $21,750 to help combat hunger throughout North Dakota.

Follow along as employees pack and deliver the backpacks: Basin Electric employees do Backpacks for Kids

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