Hope Center food pantry doing angels’ work in Devils Lake

North Dakota volunteers offer a sense of support and community for clients in need

A “hunger-free community” is a goal we can all get behind.

And it’s exactly what the Hope Center aims to achieve.

The Hope Center, in Devils Lake, North Dakota, operates a multifaceted food pantry for the working poor and those below the poverty line. The center serves communities across seven counties, including the 7,000 residents of Devils Lake.

The Hope Center was established in 2013, after local churches and individuals joined forces to develop one facility with potential for long-term sustainability. Operations manager Katie Fitch says the Hope Center’s biggest undertaking—and blessing—was acquiring the building that serves as a base of operations.

“It’s a great, scalable facility where we can continue to grow and develop our needs. The work our team has done has been so thoughtful and well-laid out,” says Fitch.

The building is so scalable, in fact, that the Hope Center currently leases the adjacent space with the local homeless shelter. Talk about a dual force.

The latest project for the Hope Center is a fundraising campaign to repair the roof of the building. While the price tag on the project is steep, it’s far from Fitch’s only goal.

She has a list—much like one for groceries.

“We’d love to purchase a walk-in cooler. There have been times where we’ve been contacted to take in a produce shipment, but we just don’t have the capacity,” she says. “We want to direct people to healthier choices in their food selection, and a cooler would enable us to do that.”

Enbridge is committed to enriching the communities where we operate. In 2016, we invested more than $275,000 in community-strengthening initiatives across North Dakota. Meanwhile our various employee-driven United Way campaigns—including a $194,000 campaign in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions—raised more than $5.3 million across North America.

Enbridge’s recent $10,000 donation to the Hope Center will contribute to the reconstruction of the facility’s roof, which is expected to begin in early September.

The Hope Center prides itself on ease of access for its clients. Rather than a grueling application process, a simple statement of income and residency is enough to grant visitors entry.

Fitch describes the pride she feels when clients in need arrive to the Hope Center for the first time. Rather than feelings of scrutiny, she says they are met with a sweet sense of community by being among familiar faces.

“Our clients don’t have a lot of choices in their day-to-day lives. When I see a mom come in and we help her make choices for her child, that’s empowering for her as a mom,” says Fitch. “And that’s probably what I’m most excited about.”