BISMARCK, N.D. _ More than 75 oil-related company sites are competing to see which can collect the most food for charity this holiday season.

“We’ve all played a part in the boom happening in western North Dakota and now it’s time to pay it forward to those who are not fortunate enough to bring food to the table this holiday season,” a flier for the event reads.

Companies across western and central North Dakota as well as in Sidney, Mont., are taking part in the non-perishable food and supply drive, said Lance Christenson of the drive’s organizer IVM Construction.

Grocery stores in 15 towns across the Bakken, as well as Cash Wise in Bismarck, are equipped with donation boxes for canned food through Dec. 20.

Donations will go to more than 15 homeless shelters and food pantries in each of the 15 towns.

Christenson said the idea came from an IVM employee, Rick Harger. The company asked other oil-related companies to participate in the drive with IVM, an oil service company.

“As an industry, we’re riding high but not everybody is,” Harger said. “It’s not all good that comes with oil and a lot of people get caught in that, especially children and the elderly.”

Harger has always wanted to help people in need. He said many have gotten behind that goal with the current drive.

Companies have already collected thousands of pounds of food before the donation period began Tuesday, Christenson said.

“Companies are already calling to have food picked up,” he said.

IVM is hoping to make the food drive an annual event with a traveling trophy for the biggest givers.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or