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Hamilton churches serving hundreds of free meals to help Bitterroot residents

Posted at 12:05 AM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 03:19:04-04

HAMILTON — While governments wrestle to help people with the unsettled economy and conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Montana residents are turning to old fashion means to help one another.

Family Shelter of the Bitterroot had been accustomed to serving people indoors at a sit down meal at the Cornerstone Bible Church in Hamilton but COVID-19 brought that to a halt in late February. The group was looking for options.

"We got a call, about a week after we began looking from Triple Creek, saying 'hey, chefs who are willing and wanting to keep busy. Do you need our food?" said Steve Traver of Family Shelter of the Bitterroot. "So that's where it started and that's been four weeks ago, five weeks ago."

Family Shelter is now able to combine the hot meals from Triple Creek Ranch, with additional food and help from Super 1 Foods and Haven House to serve hundreds of meals every weeknight. Every precaution is taken to keep the volunteers, and the people they serve, safe, turning caring into a convenient, efficient machine.

"Once the line opens, food is gone, pretty much in about 40-minutes" said Traver. "About that (laughs). All of its gone, so the lines gone. But people are waiting there's a lot of need out there so."

The meals have also served up kindness, with seven local churches taking part.

"It's been an awesome experience, just in that! So we appreciate all the help that people have shown here, and all the churches that have participated. It's been a very interesting and good situation for us," said Bruce Barber of Family Shelter of the Bitterroot.

Beyond helping in times of crisis, events like this also teach us lessons -- about continuing to serve one another. And that's especially true for the younger volunteers. Family Shelter has no age limits on the workers, finding a task for everyone to pitch in.

"It's good to see that they're serving and they see what they can do to help other people and their community," said Traver. "And also appreciate what they have."

Appreciation safely shared with nutrition, every night.

If you want to know more, check out the group's website here.