Minnkota donates food and supplies to community

Minnkota's Young Station used a unique surplus of supplies to support the holiday needs of its home communities.


Kaylee Cusack


December 22, 2020

During a time of holiday demand, Minnkota has donated food and supplies to assistance agencies in the Bismarck-Mandan region who are helping local families in need.

Like many of the nation’s power generating facilities, Minnkota’s Young Station prepared for a potential shelter-in-place situation early on in the pandemic when COVID-19 began to spread across the country. The plant stocked up on cots, bedding and non-perishable meals in case employees needed to stay at the facility for extended periods of time. Fortunately, that situation never arose, leaving the cooperative with extra supplies.

The Young Station kept a small number of cots for possible future weather emergencies, but made a decision to distribute the rest of the items to food pantries and service organizations in the area.

“We knew we couldn’t use all of the supplies, particularly the food that would eventually expire, so we took advantage of an opportunity to donate it,” said Craig Bleth, senior manager of power production. “We’re happy we could help out – at the end of what’s been a tough year for many.”

Donations packed up and ready to be delivered by employees from Minnkota’s Milton R. Young Station.

Safety and physical security supervisor Troy Karlberg reached out to contacts he had at local food pantries in Center and Hazen, as well as the United Way in Bismarck.  Over a couple of trips, Karlberg and Administrative Services supervisor Becky Dollinger were able to deliver dozens of cases of microwave-ready meals to the food pantries.

In Center, the donation was delivered to the Oliver County Community Food Pantry. Food pantry representative Mary Erhardt said the timing was perfect, as they were set to hand out “Gifts of Love” food baskets that week.

“I grew up in Center, and it’s a good feeling giving back to the community I once lived in,” Karlberg said. “I hope our donation will help some people out throughout the year.”

Minnkota's Troy Karlberg (far left) and Becky Dollinger (middle right) drop off a food donation to the Oliver County Community Food Pantry.

A donation was made the same day to the Hazen Food Pantry in Mercer County. Food pantry director Marlys Zuther said food supplies had been difficult to gather lately, and the donation would help fill food baskets for Christmas week.

Hazen Food Pantry’s Lindy Suelzle (left) and Marlys Zuther (middle) receive a donation of food from Minnkota’s Troy Karlberg.

Two days later, Karlberg again donned his Santa hat for a drop-off at the United Way in Bismarck, host of the only homeless shelter in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Missouri Slope Areawide United Way operations director Lori Ledahl thanked Minnkota for the cots, pillows and sleeping bags, which will be used for emergency overflow. Ledahl said the shelter is at full capacity right now, so donations like this will help meet the extra need.

Thanks, Young Station, for spreading love and care to the community this Christmas season.

Main image: Minnkota’s Troy Karlberg (right) delivers several cots, sleeping bags, pillows and pillow cases to United Way’s Lori Ledahl for the homeless shelter in Bismarck.


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