The Bismarck neighborhood donates annually to the Bismarck Emergency Food Pantry

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – Family traditions are an important part of our holiday celebrations. Whether it’s trick-or-treating with the cousins ​​or going to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, there’s probably something special for everyone for the holidays.

The Halloween tradition continues in one Bismack family, and we think that’s good news.

Twice a week, volunteers at the Bismarck Emergency Food Pantry fill food boxes for families in need. In October, they helped 851 people in 284 households. In total, volunteers collected nearly 18,000 pounds of food last month. They are ready to help more families this month.

“I would say our numbers are now double,” said Pat Jergensen, co-president of the Bismarck Emergency Food Pantry.

All the food they serve is donated and often their shelves are empty. But every Halloween there is a great charity that they rely on.

It begins in the Bismarck neighborhood. For the past 18 years, the Cleary family has been trick or treating for food.

“When we came back in 2005, we decided to make it a family event,” Rich Cleary said.

They posted a flyer asking neighbors to drop off donated food. Then the Cleary kids pick it up and bring it here to the food pantry.

This year’s problem: all the Cleary kids are off to college.

Enter Evan Pena.

“I’m the last one in the neighborhood that didn’t go to college,” said Pena, a senior at Century High School who lives in the neighborhood. “I was kind of the next option.”

“He did a really good job of just kind of controlling it,” Cleary added.

Cleary’s son, Anthony, and his girlfriend came home from college to help and put together three carts of food.

“It’s really generous to see so few people give up so much food,” Pena said.

“It’s such a gift that they think of us every year and they’ve been doing it for so long,” Jergensen added.

It’s a tradition that helps stock shelves, feeds those in need, and gives this neighborhood purpose and a lesson in the importance of helping others.

Pena is a senior this year and will be going to college next fall, so the Clears hope to get younger kids to continue the tradition of eating.

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