FARGO — For their commitment and extraordinary effort to end hunger within their communities, the Great Plains Food Bank has named Aaron Becher, former U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Gate City Bank and Border States Electric as its 2018 Hunger Relief Champions.
- Becher, general manager of The Forum and vice president of newspapers for Forum Communications, has served on the Great Plains Food Bank's board of director since 2012, including as board chairman for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. As chairman, Becher was instrumental in moving the Great Plains Food Bank to becoming an independent organization and has seen the organization increase its food capacity by nearly 5 million meals annually during his time as a member of the board of directors.
- As a former United States Senator from North Dakota, Heitkamp was a true champion of hunger relief efforts and federal nutrition programs. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, she advocated for a strong nutrition title in the 2018 Farm Bill; even sharing stories of North Dakotans on SNAP during a Senator floor speech. Due in part to Heitkamp’s leadership, the version of the Farm Bill that overwhelmingly passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives protected the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and included investments in job training, with an additional $206 million in funding over the next 10 years for The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
- Through food and financial donations, volunteering and in-kind gifts, Gate City Bank has been among the largest supporters of the Great Plains Food Bank in recent years. They are currently in the midst of a $250,000 long-term commitment to the Great Plains Food Bank’s Feed the Future campaign and have provided support for hunger-relief programs and services since 1999. In 2017, Gate City Bank presented the Great Plains Food Bank with a newly designed semi-trailer for its fleet of seven trucks travelling a combined 500,000 miles annually. Additionally, employees have been regular volunteers at Great Plains Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry and Pop-up Perishable Food Program distributions along with regularly conducting local food drives.
- Through volunteering, food and financial donations and regular involvement with Great Plains Food Bank signature events, Border States Electric has played an active role in the fight to end hunger for more than a decade. Since 2005, their involvement with Great Plains Food Bank events such as Canstruction, Giving Hearts Day, Chefs’ Gala and food and funds drives, Border States Electric has donated more than $117,000, which is enough to supply more than 350,000 meals to help those in need. They also provided a lead gift for the Feed the Future campaign, supplied in-kind videographer support and employees have given a total of 522 volunteer hours since 2016.