Missoula County Coverage

Aug 6, 2013 12:06 PM by Jacqueline Quynh - KPAX News

Missoula Food Bank busting at the seams

MISSOULA - Missoula's most visible and busiest organization that helps the hungry is also looking for a new home.

"We're spilling out of our space right now," Missoula Food Bank Community Relations Director Jessica Allred. explained.

The Missoula Food Bank has been a staple in the Hip Strip neighborhood for about 15 years, but its days there are numbered.

"This last year we served almost 17,000 different people," Allred said, adding that because of the economy, unemployment and an increase in population, the organization has had an 18.6% increase over the last three years.

"We expanded hours this last January [and] we added an evening shift on Thursday evenings," Allred said.

Changes have been made to accommodate what Allred describes as the changing dynamics of food shortage that affects especially seniors and children. But one thing the Food Bank can't change too much is space.

"It's really hard to find what you need to find, lots of times you're pulling out boxes," volunteer Jan Maness told us.

Allred says sometimes the space inside is so small volunteers and workers have to head outside, even during inclement weather conditions, to pack and organize food.

"I have not done that, but that would be very difficult," Maness said.

Allred believes part of the solution may come from the public. "We are looking for a balance, between something that is large enough and is accessible," Allred said.

The Missoula Food Bank would ideally need a home that has 10,000 square feet, public transit nearby and plentiful parking.

Some suggestions being bandied about for a new home include the old Goodwill Building and recently vacated warehouses, but Missoula Food Bank officials want to hear more ideas from the public.

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