On the first official day back to school for teacher inservice, the Mandan Education Association made sure it put kids and community first.

MEA decided to do a service project and kicked off its first ever food drive to help restock district pantries

“It will reach all of the families in our school district who need help. Last year they gave away 700 pounds of food to our families and were depleted with their sources so we had to stock the bank again,” MEA President Amy Flicek said.

Teachers responded with bags of pasta, peanut butter, rice, fruit snacks and more–all things to make easy meals for families.

“It is a very underestimated story, yes, it’s amazing how many kids walk through our doors every morning and have not eaten since lunch the previous day,” MEA Vice President Barb Luetzen said.

The food drive was open to all and included one very special contribution from an unnamed donor.

“This summer the Mandan Library has a reading program and at the end of the reading program they offer a certificate and the little girl won $100 from the Mandan Library for the reading program and when she heard what we were doing she told her aunt that she wanted to help donate and so they took part of that money, went and bought some food and then her aunt brought it here this morning to us to donate it for our cause. So a very special story, yes,” Luetzen said.


The bottom line? MEA members want to make sure kids never go home with empty stomachs.

“MEA is our teacher union for the district and we’re very strong membership and when we ask for something for our community or for our membership they usually reach out. You know we take care of our teachers and in turn our teachers take care of our community and our kids,” Flicek said.


Reporting for North Dakota United Communications, I’m Tom Gerhardt.