Women who run a program in Cavalier, North Dakota love helping kids with school clothes and supplies


The Love One Another Now program, abbreviated LOAN, was founded in August 2014 by Lorna Ratchenski to help students from families in financial need.

The program provides clothing, outerwear and school supplies to Pembina County students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, as well as three schools in Valley-Edinburg. In the spring, many prom dresses are also coming in and out of the LOAN program as people donate them and the girls who need them come into the store.

Over the past six and a half years, the program has grown from a dozen students to over 200.

Ratchenski, who operates a farm with her husband, Wayne, near Cavalier, started the program after praying and looking for ways to help young people in the community, she said. She decided to provide free clothing and school supplies to students for a period of three weeks before the start of the school year in 2014. With the help of friends, family and members of the Ratchensky church, 21 children in Pembina County were provided with clothing and school supplies. Provisions.

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“In the fall of 2015, I thought, ‘It’s worth starting over,’” said Ratchenski. During a period of five weeks before the start of school, 68 children received clothes and supplies.

In November 2015, a teacher told Ratchenski that there was a great need throughout the school year for what she and the volunteers were doing, and gave them a list of 53 students the families needed. clothing and school supplies. The cost of the items, $ 972, was covered by a timely and unsolicited donation of $ 1,000 to Ratchensky of the Cavalier United Lutheran Church.

“It was our first official donation to the program,” said Ratchenski.

As word of the volunteer work spread, donations to the program and requests for help increased. In 2016, Ratchenski formed a nonprofit program, sponsored by Cavalier Baptist Church. A council made up of Ratchenski and eight other women, who live in Pembina County, oversees LOAN.

The board of directors operated the program in the basement of a Cavalier store for a few years. In November 2020, Wayne Ratchenski purchased the former First Cavalier United Methodist Church for his wife, and LOAN moved to the First Avenue South site.

Clothing, winter wear, school supplies, underwear, and ball gowns are separated by type in church rooms. Every student who comes to LOAN receives items that include shirts, jeans, and attire. They are also equipped with a backpack and school supplies, winter equipment and sportswear.

Teachers in Pembina County and Valley-Edinburg who notice a student in need of school supplies or clothing contact the LOAN program and a volunteer delivers them to the school. If several items are needed, the student makes an appointment to come to the LOAN building and selects them. Changing rooms are spread throughout the store so students can be sure that the items fit well.

“Every item you see is donated by people across the county or purchased with money that was donated,” Ratchenski said during a tour of the LOAN program store.

In addition to giving students lightly used clothing, members benefit from the dollars donated to LOAN by shopping in area stores.

“We’re the best clearance buyers you’ve ever seen,” said Betty Paton, LOAN Program Board Member.

For many students, the clothes they receive from the LOAN program are the first clothes they have received that have not been handed out multiple times among family members. Witnessing the thrill of children choosing items is heartwarming, volunteers said.

“The reason it means so much to me is because when I was growing up I was one of those kids who needed things,” Paton said.

In addition to receiving cash donations, LOAN hosts events throughout the year to raise funds for the program. Students in Pembina County are also organizing events to raise funds for the program.

The need for the LOAN program continues to grow as families in the county struggle financially, Ratchenski said.

“I had a grandmother who chose between school supplies and the medicine she needed for herself,” she said. “When she heard about the LOAN program, she was able to get both.”

Board volunteers get as much from the program as they give to others, they said.

“For us, it is a privilege and an honor to help these families,” said Ratchenski.

LOAN Program Information: (701) 265-2423 or find it on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1055493014513402 To donate: Loan Program, 14255 Highway 5, Cavalier, ND 58220

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