Our organization has a 31 year history of serving the poor. The basic model can be attributed to Dorothy Day, a social activist in the early 1900s. She spoke out against war and human rights violations, peacefully picketing on behalf of the poor. Our organization continues to carry out her mission. The Fargo-Moorhead Dorothy Day House of Hospitality was established in 1983 after the City of Moorhead expressed concerns about housing homeless people in the basement of the Newman Center.
Ever since the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality opened its doors in 1983, hungry people have come to the house for meals and food. Due to practical concerns that arose because of the residential location of the house, a separate operation was needed for the food pantry. The first external pantry began in the basement of the Indian Center in Fargo back in June of 1995. As its reputation grew and the need was apparent, a building was purchased from the Harbeckes in January 1999. After renovations were completed, the food pantry opened its doors to the public in the summer of 1999 and is home to the current Dorothy Day Food Pantry. Much progress has been made since the move. With the help of the Otto Bremer Foundation and many others, the food pantry finished a huge remodel project in 2009 that resulted in more food storage space, larger reception area, and wheelchair accessibility. After the remodel, the transition into a Choice Model began. It is a more dignified way to receive food and accommodates unique tastes, medical restrictions, and religious beliefs all while eliminating food waste. The Dorothy Day Food Pantry now serves more than 7,500 families each year. The dedication of the volunteers past and present drives the food pantry to continually improve.
Born in 1897, Dorothy Day grew up in Chicago. In her early years she was a journalist with Communist views. She converted to Catholicism and with Peter Maurin started the Catholic Worker movement, opening her first homeless shelter in New York City in 1933. She spoke out against war and human rights violations, peacefully picketing on behalf of the poor. She was arrested 75 times. The last time, she was 80 years old.
For more information about Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement please visit www.catholicworker.org.