Basin Electric employees volunteer for Great Plains Food Bank Inaugural Food Packathon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On June 5, the Great Plains Food Bank had their first ever food Packathon located in Bismarck, North Dakota. Eight employees from Basin Electric donated their time to the Packathon held at the Burleigh County Extension Services building. The day was split into three sessions. Basin Electric employees participated in the first session of the day with five other companies: Bismarck Rotary, Eide Bailly, Scheels, KLJ, and Sanford Health.

The Great Plains Food Bank relies on donations and volunteer workers to get food to people who need it. A donation of $1 can provide up to three meals. Donations the organization receive are distributed out to their youth summer program, as well as school food pantries, mobile pantries, and their senior pack program.

Statistics show that 1 in 9 North Dakotans seek food assistance through the Great Plains Food Bank’s statewide network of feeding programs every year. That number equates to over 97,000 individuals who rely on the Great Plains Food Bank. Of the 97,000 people served, 12-percent are seniors and 38-percent are children, according to Ron Walters, Great Plains Food Bank major gifts officer.

Melissa Munson, Basin Electric administrative coordinator and volunteer for the Packathon, says the statistics struck her most. “1 in 9 people need help or go hungry. It was shocking to me that the statistics were that high,” she says.

The inaugural Bismarck-Mandan Packathon was intended to feed hungry senior citizens in the Bismarck, Mandan, and Minot areas in North Dakota. According to Walters, last year alone 333 seniors and 117,000 pounds of food were served in Burleigh, Morton and Ward counties. Senior citizens are the most vulnerable demographic in North Dakota as a result of their determination not to seek help. “Pride makes it difficult for some seniors to reach out for help because of their life-long pursuit of happiness. It is important to us to support them without making them feel uncomfortable,” Walters says.

The seniors who choose to participate in the program are able to go to a designated site where the food bank is serving food boxes. Boxes typically range from 25 to 30 pounds and are distributed every other month. For the seniors who are unable to leave their homes to get their food boxes, they are able to assign a family member, friend, or caretaker to pick up their food boxes.

Matthew Ferderer, Basin Electric enterprise applications architect, recognized the positive impact the donations and volunteer work mean to the community and commented, “It means that fewer people have to worry about going hungry,” he says.

The results at the end of the first session consisted of more than 500 boxes at 28,454 pounds; 1.2 pounds are considered one meal. That means 23,711 meals were distributed in those 500 plus boxes. Within 24 hours, the day’s work would be in the hands of 600 struggling senior citizens in the Bismarck, Mandan, and Minot areas.

Eight of Basin Electric’s employees volunteered at the Great Plains Food Bank Inaugural Packathon: DesaRae Berreth, Sheila Renner, Mary Hruby, Jen Holen, Matthew Ferderer, Jackie Fleck, Maureen Werner, and Melissa Munson.

The Packathon had a hashtag to be shared on social media. You can find photos, impressions, and more at the hashtag #heartssolvehunger.


  1. Chris Johnson says:

    Great job! This is why I enjoy working at Basin Electric, always helping out!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: