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Online auction aims to help deliver food to needy

BEMIDJI – The non-profit agency North Country Food Bank will be holding an online auction to raise funds for a new distribution trailer.

The auction, open to the public from Sept. 9-23, will feature an array of different items, ranging from jewelry to outdoor furniture.

“Need is growing,” said Juanita Lopez, marketing and development coordinator for North Country Food Bank, “School is beginning soon; agencies will benefit from us.”

Serving 21 counties in the northern Minnesota, North Country Food Bank annually dispenses more than 4 million pounds of food products to area hunger relief agencies. Reaching to the Canadian border, NCFB covers the largest food service area in Minnesota.

 “We want to make sure there is some kind of service in every county,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the repair of the organization’s old vehicle is ultimately draining more resources than is necessary.

“We’re looking to provide the best service we can,” said Lopez.

The refrigerated trailer would allow the nonprofit to carry at least 10 more pallets of food.

“We’re growing,” remarked Lopez, “and different programs are expanding.”

One of the rising agendas in the Bemidji area is the BackPack program, in which participating schools raise money to provide a backpack full of nutritious food to children in need.

“Bemidji has the biggest BackPack program in our area,” Lopez said. “We pack that here.”

Since its debut at the end of 2010, the BackPack program in Bemidji has supplied children at schools JW Smith, Central, Lincoln, and Solway Elementary with meals including two entrees, two servings of fruit, two servings of vegetables, two cereals and two snacks.

Out of the 17 different agencies North Country Food Bank aids, Tanya Hasbargen, Executive Director of United Way Bemidji said that the BackPack program has proved to be a success so far.

“We had more than 200 students per week receive food,” Hasbargen said.

With the addition of the new trailer, Lopez believes the program will become stronger.

“This will hopefully help sustain these kids,” she said.

Lopez added that NCFB has a homeless liaison that provides emergency packs for middle- and high-school students as well.

More information about North Country Food Bank and auction forms can be found at Questions can be directed to Lopez at or at (218)281-7356 ext. 8.