Since 1984, family-owned KHRT radio has been feeding families around the holidays.
"It gets to be quite a large project," Roy Leavitt, the current station manager at KHRT, observed, and with the current need in Minot, one can certainly see why.
There are 20 to 25 churches in the surrounding area, "a 75-100 mile radius," Leavitt estimated, and about 15 churches in Minot, all working to distribute the food that Horn of Plenty collects. Minot businesses collect donations of non-perishable food items and toys.
Jesse D. Watson/MDN
Roy Leavitt, Station Manager of KHRT radio, seen here at the Horn of Plenty Center at Oak Park Center, sorting through donations. “We feel very lucky we found this place,” Leavitt laughed. “We didn’t even know where we’d have it this year!”
"It takes the involvement of the whole community."
Leavitt has been doing the Horn of Plenty since 1998, but he remembers when the first delivery was made in 1984.
"We saw there was a need," he recalled. "We began the first year thinking, 'Let's try this and see how it goes.' We were hoping we'd find 25 families with a need, but we got 84, a need way beyond what we'd imagined."
Over the years, the program has increased.
"The organizations we have here have done a great job," Leavitt said, "but there's always a need for more."
The program is unique, because families can't submit themselves for consideration. Forms are available at various businesses in Minot and the surrounding area, the idea being that families with need are nominated by others. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 5 this year.
"Every family gets a cold pack (turkey, perishable items)" along with canned and non-perishable food, two or three new toys for each child, and a ministry gift of some type. "The program is a ministry to bring up the love of Jesus Christ in our community," Leavitt explained.
The goal is to try to provide each family with 10 to 14 days worth of food, regardless of family size. The bigger the family, obviously, the more food is required. Collections have been ongoing since mid-October, with the final packing date being Dec. 12 and the various churches commencing deliveries in the days thereafter.
While their high is over 400 families in a single year, last year was only about 250.
"Some of the organizations that submit names, like Head Start," Leavitt said, just didn't have submissions last year.
"It's not as if we've eliminated need in Minot," Leavitt mused. "A lot of low-income single ladies," the type that would have been referred by Head Start, "(just) can't afford the rent here (any longer)."
Leavitt expressed sadness at the situation. "There's a certain aspect of economic prosperity," he said, "but it also brings a level of greed."
Leavitt estimated they'd be helping 300 to 350 families this year.
The best way to get all the information about how to help, Leavitt said, was to head to (www.khrt.com). Donations of non-perishable food and toys are being taken at the Minot Marketplace Foods locations, Curves, Home of Economy, and others. Forms to nominate families can be found at the above locations and elsewhereChecks can be mailed to I Help, Inc; P.O. Box 2112; Minot, ND 58702. KHRT's phone number is 852-3789.