Second Harvest North Central Food Bank ‘Gingerbread Giving Tree’ Program in Jeopardy

The Grand Rapids Bases Food Bank is Forced to Make Some Changes Ahead of the Holiday Season

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – Second Harvest North Central Food Bank is having to make changes as they work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, there will be changes to this year’s Itasca Holiday Program organized by North Central Food Bank.

Due to financial difficulty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization will not be offering the Gingerbread Giving Tree portion of the Itasca Holiday Program.

Now, in its 25th year, the Itasca Holiday Program has traditionally provided individuals and families, in Itasca County and Hill City, with holiday food items and a grocery voucher.

For those with children ages 1-12, they would receive a gift, provided by the community, from the Gingerbread Giving Tree and Toys for Tots.

“It has been an agonizing decision to drop the gift portion of the program,” stated Estee. “We realize that families are going to need help this holiday season and we can do that through the Itasca Holiday Program by providing food and a grocery voucher for that special holiday meal but we no longer have the capacity to run the gift portion of the program.”

Second Harvest doesn’t believe the Gingerbread Giving Tree portion of the program has to go away, with assistance from their Development and Marketing Manager, Trisha Zimmerman, Second Harvest is willing to work with community members to transition the gift portion of the program into the hands of a new organization.

“The Gingerbread Tree portion of the program has been perfected for the last 25 year,” says Zimmerman. “It takes a lot of coordination and volunteers but all of the gifts are provided by community members through the Gingerbread Giving Trees and Toys for Tots. It has become a family tradition for many to pick a gingerbread boy or girl off of a tree and give a gift. I want to see this tradition continue and look forward to passing this portion of the program on.”

If your organization or civic group is interested in taking on the Gingerbread Giving Tree Program, contact Trisha Zimmerman at 218-999-4135.

Second Harvest North Central Food Bank will continue to provide food support for those in need this holiday season.

Donations continue to be accepted at their facility. When dropping off a donation, you’re asked to follow COVID-19 guidelines posted on the door of the building.

The facility is located at 2222 Cromell Drive, Grand Rapids. The contact number is 218-326-4420.

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