We are a private, nonprofit organization serving Cass and Clay counties and staffed largely by volunteers. We are supported by donations of money, food, and time from the Fargo-Moorhead area community.
The mailing address of the Pantry is:
Emergency Food Pantry
P.O. Box 2821 Fargo, ND 58108
The Emergency Food Pantry is located at 1101 4th Avenue North in Fargo. Hours of food distribution are 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Pantry's phone number is 701-237-9337, and the main email is email@example.com.
See the latest updates from the pantry on our blog here.
A NEED to FEED
Please donate to the Emergency Food Pantry on February 12, 2015.
Contact Pat Claus with any questions at
Mavis and I, A Grand Lady...
While I have always valued my interactions with people (code for I love to chat with folks), every once in awhile you meet someone who makes a huge impact on you. Not just a “wow, that person is neat” kind of impact, but rather an impact of Richter proportion, terrain altering, rethinking life, tear in the eye kind of impact. Recently I had just such an experience.
A short time ago I received a phone call at the Emergency Food Pantry inquiring if it would be possible for Mavis Solberg to come and visit. The caller was Mavis’s daughter, Susan and Susan told me that Mavis had volunteered with the Pantry back in the 1970s and would very much like to come visit us at our relatively new facility.
I, of course, told Susan I would love to have Mavis visit (see above reference of my love of opportunities to chat with people). Susan explained her mother was elderly and used a walker. While the Pantry is fully accessible, we did arrange for Mavis and Susan to park on the delivery ramp over the noon hour so as to make the visit even easier for Mavis. I tell you this because I must admit I had fallen victim to stereotypical thinking, picturing a frail elderly woman who would be coming to visit.
The day arrived and whoa was I wrong! You see Mavis arrived with her walker but there is nothing frail nor feeble about this grand lady! She explained as we moved about the Pantry that she was nearly 100 years old and while she used the walker, her steps were firm and her gaze took in everything around her. She knew of my time as a police officer and spoke glowingly of her time at the Pantry. As we strolled about the building chatting, I found myself captivated by this amazing woman.
Mavis marveled at the changes from the days in the 70s when she and her husband volunteered with the Pantry, which then was a small house in Moorhead. She told me of a time when her husband and she had been out on a cold and blustery winter night trying to deliver food to a family in need. She gently reminded me that back then there were no GPS systems nor were the street signs or street lamps as they are today. She said they were about ready to give up but decided to make one more pass in attempt to deliver the badly needed food. It was then they found the lonely little trailer house and the mother and child inside. Mavis recalled as they delivered the food basket how the little girl reached up and tugged on her mother’s skirt and said “Momma, now we can eat." As her story ended, Mavis’ voice was soft with emotion and tears glittered in her piercing eyes. She looked at me and said “I’m sorry but you see that is what it was all about, helping those who need it”.
We finished our tour and I asked Mavis if she knew what a “selfie” was and if so, would she mind if I took one of us together. You see I could have asked Susan or someone else to take the photo, but to tell the truth, so enthralled was I by this grand lady that I had forgotten there was anyone else but her around. She smiled and told me she did know what a “selfie” was and agreed to a picture which I have attached to this post. Then, as she was ready to leave, she gave me the two greatest gifts I received this Christmas, a hug and a heartfelt compliment, telling me how she appreciates all the Panty does for those “who need it."
Only after Mavis and Susan left that day and the spell-like effects of this wonderful lady's visit began to wane did I realize I had not gotten to ask her some more questions about her and her family. And worse yet, I had not written down a contact number for her or Susan. Christmas passed and the New Year arrived and still I found myself wishing I would have spent a few more minutes with Mavis. So this weekend, using the internet, my phone and some old detective skills I tracked down Mavis’s son Warren and asked if he would mind giving me his mother’s contact information. He called back and gave me his mother’s information and on a sunny Sunday morning I stopped over to visit. As I waited in the lobby, Mavis approached as I said hello. She replied “Hello Mr. Claus, not Santa, but Mr.” and her smile lit up the room. We sat down and chatted for awhile as she filled in some of the story above as well as more of her life’s story.
Mavis and her husband Clarence moved to ND in the early 1950s after spending the first four years of their marriage in Oregon. They were blessed with three wonderful children (Susan, Maxine and Warren) and farmed near Wild Rice. She smiled fondly as she spoke of the children and her late husband Clarence, who passed in 1993 and how she never would have guessed she would have lived this long. She chatted of current events and the latest news stories and once again I came under her spell. What a grand lady, so much energy and spirit. We discussed growing up in a simpler time. She hesitated to call it the “good old days” but in the end we did.
Mavis left me with so many words of wisdom. She locked me with her sharp gaze and said “When you see something which needs to be done, get off your duff and DO IT. Too many people don’t." She spoke of never knowing how much of an influence you will have on others, so always do what is right in hope that it will inspire others to do so. To illustrate this she spoke of a young lady stopping her in the store one day years ago. Mavis had worked at Eventide, and so had the young lady. “Mrs. Solberg, I never aspired to be a nurse or help others until I worked with you. But because of you, I went to school and became an LPN, and then went on to become an RN.” Mavis smiled as she finished the story and said, “I will never know what I did or said to make that young lady choose to help others, but I am glad I did whatever it was." She told me of how much good we are doing at the Pantry and how she likes how we have changed things for the better, like letting our clients pick the type of food they would like and the ability to provide more choices.
Mavis will turn 100 this coming March and invited me to come to her birthday party at Atonement Lutheran Church, where she and Clarence were founding members. You see, Mavis has a gift; she can turn everything to a positive and direct it back at the person she is speaking to, making them feel they are the only person in the world. I am blessed for meeting this wonderful lady, who has given so much to her community and continues to inspire others to do the same. I am a better person for the time I have spent with Mavis and look forward to her birthday party and another opportunity to spend time with her. And last but certainly not least, I am glad we carry on at the Pantry today what people like Clarence and Mavis started 40 plus years ago, helping those “who need it."
(Mr.,, not Santa)