Bitterroot rallies around residents in need

Posted at 8:30 AM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 10:30:09-05

STEVENSVILLE – It’s not uncommon for neighbors to help neighbors, especially during this holiday season of giving.

But, this story is much more than just an occasional favor, it’s about putting food on the table for hundreds of families in the Bitterroot Valley.

This time of year can be tough for all of us -– the dark winter weather, the financial stress of buying holiday gifts for family and friends and the pressure of putting a traditional holiday dinner on the table.

That’s where the Pantry Partner’s Food Bank comes in as every year they prepare food boxes to help their neighbors in need have a special Christmas dinner.

“If you think about it, it’s really kind of cool. People care about you, they’ve packed a box for you, they want you to have a good holiday. When they come through the door, we wish them a Merry Christmas,” said Pantry Partners Food Bank Board President Karen Sue Sanchea.

“We take the stuff to the car and we wish them a Merry Christmas again. We care about them and they know it. That’s got to help,” she added.

It wouldn’t be a holiday dinner without the turkey. and this year the community rallied the troops and gathered up more than 300 birds for those in need of a Christmas meal.

In order to make all this happen, it takes a lot of helping hands. The Back Country Horseman, along with Stevensville and Florence high school students set up shop, help with fundraisers and ultimately help fill the dinner boxes.

“I’ve learned that there are a lot of people in this community that need help, more than you’d expect. It’s people from every day that you see in the streets, people that you pass,  people at school — and [prople] you know personally,” said Stevensville High School Junior Gwenyth Thompson.

“I learned how there’s a lot of people who don’t have the necessities. They don’t have the food that they need to get from day to day,” Florence Carlton High School Senior Zach Henderson added.

The Pantry Partners serves families in Stevensville, Florence and Victor — making sure that no family is forgotten during the holiday season.

“This is a way for us to remember the people in our community and give them a hand. That’s what this is about. It’s about neighbors helping neighbors,” Sanchez told MTN News.

Pantry Partners Food Bank helps keep families fed all year long and has served 695 individual families this year, putting together 2,300 boxes of food.

Click here to learn more about the Pantry Partners Food Bank.