The 13th annual Fill the Dome campaign is underway with a new mission statement guiding the way: No space for hunger.

Food and funds will be collected by area students through Friday, Nov. 22, and teams from each participating school will bring their items to the Fargodome on Monday, Nov. 25, to help Fill the Dome.

It all began in 2007 when a group of area high school students formed what is now called the Metro Area Student Ambassadors and challenged their community to help them Fill the Dome with food. These students had a desire to leave a positive impact on their community before graduating high school and created a legacy of youth philanthropy that continues to engage and inspire future leaders.

This food-raising project has been a part of our lives since our son, Gio, was in preschool, and each fall we look forward to doing our part to help combat hunger in our region. More than 50 schools around our region annually participate in Fill the Dome, collecting food and funds each November to help those in need.

Working in partnership with the Great Plains Food Bank and more than a dozen business sponsors, Fill the Dome has successfully mobilized students and our community to raise over 2.3 million pounds of food and more than $500,000 since its inception 12 years ago.

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Nonperishable food items are needed, like canned and dry goods, as well as personal hygiene and paper products and even cleaning supplies. All items donated are processed by the Great Plains Food Bank to help fill food pantries and soup kitchens in both rural and urban communities throughout North Dakota and western Minnesota.

The visual of all these young people filling the Fargodome is not only impressive, but important. Visuals like these showcase the community efforts of people actively working together toward a common, tangible goal and inspire others to become involved.

However, while food donations will fill the venue, I cannot overstate the importance of monetary donations in the mission to stamp out hunger. For every dollar received in charitable donations, the Great Plains Food Bank can provide three meals to those in need. Fill the Dome donations can be made online at ftdome.com, or you can give directly to the Great Plains Food Bank at greatplainsfoodbank.org.

There are also a series of community events throughout the month designed to generate donations and help bring awareness to the event, including a dance for area high school students this Friday, Nov. 8, as well as family skate nights, sports events and more. More information about these events and how to donate or become involved in the campaign can be found on the event’s website at ftdome.com.

According to the Great Plains Food Bank, 1 in 9 people throughout our region struggle with hunger, meaning 1 in 9 live with the daily uncertainty of how they will feed themselves, their families and their children. You can make an impact in their lives by helping to Fill the Dome and continue that support throughout the year by making a monthly monetary donation to the Great Plains Food Bank.

I hope you’ll join me this month in support of our area’s youth to Fill the Dome and leave no space for hunger in our community. To learn more about Fill the Dome, visit ftdome.com. To learn more about how to help stamp out hunger in our region, visit greatplainsfoodbank.org.

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While most nonperishable items will be accepted for the 13th annual Fill the Dome campaign, when shopping, look for cans with pull-tab tops for easy use, and plastic jars versus glass for safe handling. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
While most nonperishable items will be accepted for the 13th annual Fill the Dome campaign, when shopping, look for cans with pull-tab tops for easy use, and plastic jars versus glass for safe handling. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Items most in need

  • Soup
  • Stew
  • Chili
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned meat products
  • Cereal
  • Pancake mix
  • Tomato-based products
  • Boxed meals
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Pasta, rice and instant potatoes
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Paper towels and toilet paper
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Monetary donations

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.