Since opening Dec. 5 in Grand Forks, the Hope Community Care Center and Food Pantry has served at least 123 families and given out 8,050 pounds of food, according to the center's director Linaya Heatherly.
"For just being open a little over a week, it's been a great week," Heatherly said. "It's been a very good week."
The center in the Grand Cities Mall is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The food pantry portion of the center will be available 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.
Heatherly took over Dec. 6, one day after the pantry opened, after working for the Alerus Center as an office administrator and human resources representative.
"I attend Hope Church and I was at a Women's Ministry even, where the president of the board came in and spoke about the care center and the food pantry," she said. "It just sparked an interest for me, and when I found out they were hiring a director's position, I was super excited. I've always been really passionate about serving others, and I just felt this would be a great fit for me and something that could be not only a job but working to help others."
After the new year, the center will offer classes to the community on a range of subjects, including filling out job applications, assistance applications, safety, nutrition and more, Heatherly said. As soon as Jan. 3 ,there will be a class at 1:30 p.m. every Thursday focusing on a different topic each week, she said.
The food pantry will assume a monthly schedule after the new year as well, Heatherly said. The first week of every month will be for single women and the elderly, the second week will be for families and the third for single men.
"And then the fourth week of the month, the pantry will be closed for restocking," Heatherly said. The care center will be open to all every week.
Before even opening, the center was supported by donations from businesses like Hornbacher's and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Heatherly said she looks forward to the donations from other businesses and help from volunteers.
"We've had a lot of interest already for people wanting to volunteer, and I'm sure we're going to need many many more," she said.
Those interested in volunteering can access information and volunteer applications online at www.gfhope.org/carecenter.