David Bergeman decided to go big with his support for the local community during the pandemic.

The Farmers Union Insurance agent from southwest North Dakota with offices in Forman and Oakes put together a Facebook giveaway worth $1,200. It included four $25 gift cards each to 12 different businesses, creating 48 prize winners.

“If you liked our comment and shared our post, you got into the drawing,” he said. “We created a spinning wheel, spun the wheel, did the drawing, and it went over very well. Businesses were very appreciative.”

Bergeman said the post had over 20,000 views, and many in the comments thanked him for supporting the community. Bergeman said supporting the local community is how he was raised. His father Lawrence, who died in 2009, was also a Farmers Union Insurance agent.

“I’ve been around Farmers Union all of my life,” David said. “That’s just the way I was raised. Giving back to the community is just what you do. You support and take care of each other.”

Many businesses, particularly restaurants, are struggling during the pandemic, as restrictions limit how many customers can be seated at once, with takeout orders being the last resort. Bergeman said his goal is to keep those businesses in people’s minds.

“We’ve got to keep them viable,” Bergeman said. “It’s hard enough to keep businesses going in small communities. We don’t want them to dry up.”

Like Bergeman, many Farmers Union Insurance agents are supporting local businesses.

Kelly Braun in Dickinson has a weekly giveaway of a $25 gift card to a local restaurant for those liking and sharing the post, which comes with a “keep it local” hashtag.

“I’m hoping they get some business out of it with curbside stuff,” Braun said. “It’s something kind of fun for people to look and find on Facebook.”

Braun said it’s been well received all around.

“I didn’t realize the positive reaction we’d get from the business owners,” he said. “We call ahead and ask if we can use their business name and promote them with it. Most of them figure we’re asking them to donate the gift card, and we’re not doing that. We’re purchasing it. The reaction from the community has been really good.”

— NDFU Editor Chris Aarhus