WEST FARGO — West Fargo will soon have its first permanent food pantry when the Dorothy Day Food Pantry west opens next week.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for the new food pantry at 45 21st Ave. E., West Fargo at 10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 19.

For many years, Holy Cross Catholic Church in West Fargo staffed the pantry, and housed it in its bus barn. But, officials said the pantry was so successful it outgrew the space and Churches United began looking for a permanent location.

"The new location will allow for easier access for the community, and it will allow us to expand services, extend the number of hours we are open, and diversify our food offerings to include shelf-stable goods," said Timothy Hiller, Churches United chief development officer. "The space is ideally located near a major intersection in West Fargo and has abundant warehouse and office space for a pantry."

The Dorothy Day Food Pantry West is one of the largest food pantries in the Fargo-Moorhead community and the largest fresh food pantry in North Dakota.

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Tiller said that in 2020, the pantry distributed more than 1.1 million pounds of food to 1,637 unique households over 12,225 visits.

The food pantry is the only pantry in the Fargo Moorhead community that primarily distributes perishable items. In 2020, more than 1 million pounds or 95% of the food distributed was a fresh or perishable item.

The food pantry is open 2-4 p.m., Monday and Wednesdays. Customers can access the West pantry twice a month, and they are also able to access the Dorothy Day Food Pantry in Moorhead twice a month.

In 2020, the Dorthy Day Food Pantry increased its hours to meet the increased demand at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food pantries' staff in Fargo-Moorhead report a 40% increase in demand during recent months, even up to 80% in rural communities.