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Lions, Community Endowment Fund offer to help area families

By Staff | Apr 10, 2020

The Rugby Lions Club has teamed with the Rugby Community Endowment Fund and Leever’s Foods to offer help to residents affected by economic conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A press release from the Rugby Lions Club said the group received a $10,000 grant from the Rugby Community Endowment Fund “to assist families and persons in our community impacted by the COVID- 19 disaster.”

“As funds allow, and as we work to assess the needs of our community, we are making gift cards available at Leever’s Foods in Rugby. These funds are intended for residents of our community directly affected by the COVID-19 disaster,” the release added.

“The head of each household which has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 disaster may request a $50 gift card (i.e., household of 2 or less people) or a $100 gift card (i.e., household of more than 2 people),” the release said. “At this time, each household is limited to one gift card every 14 days.”

Galen Mack of the Lions Club said local members of the service organization have stayed informed on the pandemic.

“The Rugby Lions Club is an organization that wanted to do something to help,” Mack noted.

Mack said the Lions began distributing the grocery gift cards Friday, April 3. “We started conservatively,” he said, “but we’re willing to take a look at what the (person’s) needs are.”

“If there are any households that need more, they should get ahold of us,” Mack added. “If we hear that (what we can provide) is not enough, then we can try to do more. Of course, we have limited funds.”

Mack said the most common pandemic-related problem described to him and fellow Lions was “loss of employment or cutting back hours.”

“I had a call from a single parent with an infant child saying, ‘I’m down to 10 hours a week and I don’t know how I’m going to pay (my bills).’ I said, ‘Number one, get the gift card; number two, if the card’s not enough, get ahold of us and we’ll get you some extra cards or whatever is needed,” Mack recounted.

The Lions press release said people facing an “extraordinary expense or situation” may contact Mack at (701) 776-5246, or Lions member and Pierce County Commissioner Ashley Berg at (701) 412-1033 to participate in the program.

“We’re taking donations as well to help keep this going,” Mack said. “If we have more donations, we can open this up more or find more things to assist people who have been affected by this COVID-19 situation.”

The Lions’ press release read, “Donations to this project (Rugby Lions Club – COVID-19 Fund) may be mailed to Rugby Lions, PO Box 251, Rugby, ND 53868, or left with any Rugby financial institution: Merchants Bank, Bremer Bank, 1st International Bank and Trust, North Star Community Credit Union or Ramsey Bank.”

Mack said donations may also be left at Mack Law Office in Rugby or sent to Ashley Berg, who serves as a Pierce County commissioner and owns Main Street Boutique.

“We’ve received some donations already and in the first three days, we’ve helped out about 16 families, but there are still people who don’t know the program exists,” Mack noted.

“The word just got out last Friday and we have over $1,000 in donations so far,” he added.

“The generosity of the Rugby Community Endowment Fund and people who are donating to it are important to this program,” Mack said.

“Leever’s Foods needs to be thanked for selling their products and doing this extra work and having people come in through their service counter and things like that and helping with the program; we thank them as well,” Mack added.

“The main point that I would like to drive home is, do you have a need? Have you lost your job? Have you been cut back on hours? Has your family size increased dramatically and you’ve got bigger expenses because of COVID? Take advantage of these things.”

Mack said families taking part in SNAP and other social service programs should continue receiving help.

“This isn’t meant to take the place of the food pantry, it isn’t meant to take the place of SNAP. If a family’s been using that, keep using that. If this isn’t enough, apply for (the other programs) as well,” Mack said.

“But at least,” he continued, “this is a minimum of $200 a month for families of three or more people, and that means that there’s $200 for groceries and there’s another $200 they can use for electricity, fuel, gas for the car, rent, or whatever they might need.”

“Again,” Mack said, “if there are families (facing) another particular expense, get ahold of us and we’ll see what we can do.”

Mack also encouraged community members to look into joining the Rugby Lions. “We’re looking for members,” he said.

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