Thrivent Financial of Langdon cordially invites one and all to “give thanks and give back” through a food drive November 1-15.
By Melissa Anderson
“Our office has applied for and been accepted to do the “Give Thanks, Give Back” project between November 1 – November 15, and we are partnering with United Lutheran Church,” Laura Dease of Thrivent Financial, Langdon said. “This is part of the generosity program with Thrivent. It’s also an easy way to involve the community and help out the food pantry.”
Northland Region Thrivent has a set of criteria for those participating in the food drive. The criteria is to gather 500 items for the local food pantry and create a pyramid. Posting a photo to social media as part of the “Give Thanks, Give Back” campaign will get the group an additional $500 donation for their food shelf. In total, the challenge will provide gifts up to $30,000.
Sarah Overby, Financial Associate for Thrivent Financial in Langdon, explained that the office and organization, as a whole, cares about the people within the community and wants to help in any way possible. Thrivent Financial has a long history of doing just that and is unique amongst financial advisors as it is a kind of membership organization called a fraternal benefit society.
“By definition, a fraternal benefit society is a not-for-profit organization that provides insurance to its members and – this is key – has to carry out social, intellectual, educational, charitable, benevolent, moral, fraternal, patriotic or religious purposes for the benefit of its members and the public. So we don’t simply sell insurance, and we don’t simply do charitable work either. As a fraternal benefit society, we do both as we help Thrivent members be wise with money,” Overby explained.
Pastor Karl Breddin of United Lutheran Church knows how important events like this are, not only to those that need it, but as a way to build up the community. While those that need the food will have food to eat, those that give will have fulfillment in other ways.
“When we open ourselves to helping others’ needs, we are more aware of how we are all connected. Although we all like to receive, we are wired to give,” Breddin said. “Studies show that people who are the generous are more happy than those who are not. So, selfishly speaking, helping with this food drive or other charitable events helps the giver as well as the receiver.”
The Cavalier County Food Pantry will benefit from the additional food drive as the holiday season is fast approaching. Making sure every household in the area has enough food is a passion for Breddin because he feels hunger is a problem we can help end. As a basic necessity for life, raising awareness that there are those who are hungry or who may not be getting enough to eat is the first step.
“As anyone who goes grocery shopping regularly knows, there is a year-round need for food. People, who in situations with low income and food scarcity, rely on food assistance such as is provided through the Cavalier County Food Pantry,” Breddin said.
Thrivent Financial Group has a long standing philosophy within their organization of “Who can I help?”. As part of their “live generously” mantra, the organization has helped its members amplify their impact on their communities. The “Give Thank, Give Back” food shelf challenge provides members with a way to make their impact even larger as it spreads across the Northland Thrivent Member Network, touching communities like Langdon.
“As a pastor and from a Christian perspective, it means recognizing that all we have is a gift from God which we are called to care for. How do we show our love and appreciation to God for this trust? Well, God doesn’t need our food or money, but others do, and we show our love to God by loving our neighbors,” Breddin shared.
As the area heads into the cold winter months, food drives will become more common as communities band together to help others. Adrian Olson, a member of the food pantry board, explained that now is when the need increases as seasonal workers are laid off. The number of people that utilize the Cavalier County Food Pantry fluctuates, ranging from 30 to 50 per month.
By having food drives earlier in the year, the food pantry has better supply to meet their demand. With more donations providing the much needed food, the pantry does not have to dip into their limited funds to buy food for the shelves. Part of the success for these drives is simply having awareness that they are happening. Breddin noted that the annual trick or treat food drive is a fun event for participating youth and brings in a lot of support for the food pantry.
“But some people forget or aren’t around that evening, so this presents another opportunity to give. The need is always present,” Breddin said.
The items most needed for the food pantry shelves are the items that are commonly found in many cupboards. Canned goods like beans and vegetables to meals in a box can make all the difference to someone that is facing a day with no food. Other items such as instant potatoes and canned meats like chicken, tuna, or spam can round out an otherwise lackluster meal. Having dry goods like rice or pasta along with sauces, seasonings, and condiments can also be essential to making a meal.
The donations can be taken to the Thrivent Finanical office in Langdon or to United Lutheran Church. Thank you to everyone in our community who helps with this event and other food drives. Your help is appreciated and makes a difference!