AID Inc. open house welcomes holiday donations
AID, Inc., a non-profit organization formerly known as Brighten’s Thrift Shop, is having an open house the week of Monday, Nov. 18 through Saturday, Nov. 23, to reintroduce their new name and celebrate after remodeling.
Bremer Bank supplied a grant for $70,000 to have updates done throughout the facility, which is located in the former Gamble’s building along West Main Street in Mandan. Some updates include new flooring, paint, window shades, cash registers, displays and a break area for employees.
During Open House week, the community is asked to bring in non-perishible food and household items to help fill the Food Pantry. Cookies and refreshments will be served every afternoon during the open house.
AID, Inc., serves Burleigh and Morton counties and is a way to help individuals, holding jobs or seeking employment, who need additional aid. Several services are provided for people to meet their basic needs such as rent and utility assistance, transportation for employment or medical reasons, car insurance, and day care expenses, eye glasses and non-narcotic prescription assistance and many other unmet needs.
Patti Regan, executive director, store manager and volunteer coordinator, is thrilled with the remodeling and said, “The store needed a facelift.”
Regan has been with AID, Inc., for seven years. Her husband, Tom, and four children moved to Mandan 32 years ago and never wanted to leave.
“After hearing so many individual stories from clients over the years about why things happen, all I want to do is help them on their path towards becoming successful,” said Regan.
“There was a couple living in the Wal-Mart parking lot, but after making a few calls to landlords around town we found them an appartment, paid their deposit and first months rent and put them on the path towards becoming successful,” said Regan.
According to Regan there are over 600 homeless school children in Bismarck-Mandan. “They aren’t in the streets, they are on couches, in cars or split up between relatives.”
Going back to the vision of the Father Charles Backes, of St. Joseph’s church, who established Aid Inc., in 1983, he wanted to give a helping hand to the working poor.
“Father Don Fischer and a group of committed individuals also helped start the non-profit because back in the day people would go to their church to find help or to their neighbors,” said Regan.
“But as the community grew so did their needs, thus AID, Inc. was formed.”
Although the local churches are no longer affiliated with AID, Inc., they are one of the biggest supporters. Last quarter, AID, Inc., gave out $25,000 in services and helped provide temporary, emergency assistance to help families and individuals stay in their homes and become self-sufficient.
There are anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 individuals from Burleigh and Morton counties helped through AID, Inc., per year.
“There are repeats; however, 50 percent of individuals seeking assistance don’t need help again because we helped them meet their success,” said Regan.
AID, Inc., also houses a Food Pantry and provides around 25,000 pounds of food each year.
“Hunger should never be an issue,” said Regan.
“There are free hot meals everyday of the week.”
There is a list of resources for anyone interested at AID, Inc. also Regan assures that the Food Pantry does not turn anyone away.
Food is purchased from Great Plaines Food Bank and is also provided by Great Plaines Food Recovery Program. Other sources come from school and church food drives, as well as, the postal carriers food drive and donations. But if the Food Pantry doesn’t receive staple food items from the donations, AID, Inc., buys those items such as Hamburger Helper, butter and milk.
The community can participate in fundraising efforts through the yearly Care and Share program sponsored by AID, Inc. This is a 28-year old fundraiser that helps buy enough food to feed 250 area families and buy gifts for their children around the holidays. The application deadline is this Friday for families that want to participate.
The community can participate in the Care and Share program by picking out a name on an “angle tree,” which can be found around the community. The tree is full of names and clothing sizes of various children and teens around Bismarck-Mandan. Community members are asked to buy gifts for these children or donate to the fundraiser.
The goal of the fundraiser is to raise $20,000 to buy enough food for two-weeks and gifts for children left over from the angle tree. Families will take the food and gift baskets home on Dec. 14, from the Brave Center starting at 9 a.m. Walk-ins will not be services, only registered families.
Also coming up soon is the 30th annual Thanksgiving dinner served free of charge to all who wish to attend. The diner has always been held at First Lutheran Church, at 408 9th St. NW, with serving starting at 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.
This year is the biggest Thanksgiving meal yet with an increase of 20 percent and an estimated 500 people in attendance said Regan.
“There are 17 turkeys cooking in four different locations. We usually spend all day Wednesday checking their internal temperatures,” said Regan.
“We want everyone to feel the fellowship of Thanksgiving. The atmosphere is warm and cozy with the scent of pumpkin pie filling the air – It truly is heartwarming.”
If transportation is an issue AID, Inc., can arrange a taxi or bus ride.
To assure the success of this meal, many volunteers are needed. Call 701-663-1274, by Friday, to volunteer.
Individuals and families seeking assistance go through an interview process to determine eligibility. AID, Inc., considers all requests but cannot process them all. Call the help center at 701-663-1274 to schedule an appointment.
To help during the holiday season donations can be dropped off at AID, Inc. or sent to 314 West Main Ave
AID, Inc., is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Food Pantry is open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
AID, Inc., would like to thank the following businesses for helping during the remodeling process: Bremer Bank, Walmart, Magi-Touch Carpet One, Frontier Electric, D & F Telephone, Mann Signs, Morrell’s Welding, Quality Home Furniture, Hobby Lobby, Brown & Saenger, Gary Dietz Painting, Weedas, Mark’s Heating & Cooling, TectaAmerica Roofing and Starion Financial.