Sometimes giving as a family takes a surprising direction.
When the Robinson family relocated to Fargo in 2018 to recover from financial hardship, they were pleased to receive both support and assistance from the community. As they got back on their feet, they wanted to pay that effort forward and help others who were in similar situations. As the pandemic continued, and they watched the needs of the community grow, they were moved to try to do their part to combat the growing insecurity they perceived by creating the Life Care Unites Foundation.
Created with seed money provided by the four Robinson children, the newly formed 501(c)3 nonprofit organization started in January 2021. Their collaboration with the Chisom Housing Group and The Arbors at McCormick park allows Katrina & Jeremy Robinson to operate their Relief Shopping and Hot Meal programs at 622 23rd Street South in Fargo. While Katrina Robinson organizes the Relief Shop, donations and volunteers, her husband Jeremy works on turning donations from local food pantries, farmers’ markets, and grocery stores into healthy meals to reduce food waste as well as feed those in need.
“We try to give people a healthier meal, not just serve things out of a can. When you are going through challenges, you need healthier food, and that isn’t always available,” says Jeremy.
“There are a lot of groups in Fargo doing great work to provide assistance in the community. However, as the need grows, there are a lot of people who don’t qualify for assistance, but still need help. We are trying to fill in some of those gaps,” says Katrina of their organization.
All four Robinson children actively participate in all aspects of running the new non-profit. The oldest daughter, Asia, is taking the lead on being the social media ambassador for the group, managing their TikTok and Snapchat accounts. The youngest daughter, India, hands out flyers and practices public speaking on behalf of the organization. The oldest son, Scott, is taking a position as a junior chef to learn to manage the food program as it grows, while the younger son, Brice, is learning the basics of budgeting and what it costs to run the program. However, while it started as a family initiative, the group isn’t only a family affair. Life Care Unites Foundation is creating more partnerships within the community and growing quickly.
“Chisom has really made this possible by allowing us to run our Hot Meal and Relief Shop programs in their space. With the support of the Chisom and the Arbors at McCormick Park property management company, we are really excited to look at expanding the two programs this fall to serve more meals and do more appointments,” says Katrina. “We’re hoping to move toward providing a hot meal every Friday and add an additional day where people can shop.”
While the Life Care Unites Foundation strives to serve the McCormick Park and GAP Pantry communities, they also receive referrals through SENDCCA, Family Health Care, United Way, FirstLink, and Youthworks. In addition, they have also recently entered into a partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of Red River Valley to create volunteer opportunities for the children in their programs to grow and learn.
“The support has just been amazing,” agrees both Robinsons.
With the assistance of the Cass Clay chapter of the Awesome Foundation, who named them as their July grantee with a gift of $1000, the group is hoping to host an additional initiative, a Winter Giving Event, in mid-November of this year. The event is designed to try to provide community members, especially children and teens, with the winter items they need before the holidays so that families do not need to choose necessities over a Christmas memory or time with their loved ones.
“We’re testing things out as a new organization, trying to see what works. Right now we are laying the groundwork, speaking to people and other organizations, figuring out who else we can partner with. We want to continue growing and help bridge the gap with those who need help and can’t access it.”
All the programs and initiatives of the Life Care Unites Foundation are offered at no cost to those they serve.
“We don’t want to charge people for the things they need. If we can get donations and focus on reducing landfills and recycling, as well as helping people who need help, that’s the goal. The meals are free. The Relief Shopping center is free. Sometimes people are facing challenges, and they just need a little help to get through.”
While the organization is looking to build community partnerships, they also very much welcome donors as well as individual volunteers for a variety of simple tasks for both programs. Opportunities are available on their website, https://lifecareunites.org/, or they can be contacted at lifecareunites@ gmail.com, or Scheduling (701) 318-7836 Administrative Office: (701) 566-9221.