Pantry program to expand in Bismarck-Mandan area

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A community effort to fight hunger is expanding in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

The Little Free Pantries offer free food and personal care items in businesssponsored wooden boxes, The Bismarck Tribune reported. Community members are also encouraged to drop off donations.

Three of the new locations will be in Mandan, including at the Mandan Dog Park and the American Lutheran Church. Many of the new Bismarck pantries will be in parks.

“Our goal with finding new locations was getting them into areas of town where there might be the greatest need,” said Leadership Bismarck-Mandan participant Tony Spilde.

The project’s goal is to be an addition to other programs providing community assistance.

“There are some great programs in Bismarck and Mandan, people doing wonderful work,” Spilde said. “The Little Free Pantries are meant to complement those programs that already exist, to help fill in the gaps by providing a 24/7 place where people who need it can get some food or some Band-Aids or a pair of gloves. They can access it as they need it.”

The program is supported by an MDU Resources grant, which goes toward building the pantry boxes.

Rough Rider Industries is employing inmates to construct the boxes. Spilde said the new boxes will soon be set up at their locations.