KALISPELL - Food banks in Fathead County are struggling to keep food on the shelves due to inflation and a decrease in overall donations.
“So, in March we saw a 33% increase in customers that needed our service, and that 33% increase from January and February that we hit in March has stayed steady during April and May,” said Flathead Food Bank Executive Director Jamie Quinn.
Inflation and a steady drop in donations are causing a food shortage at the Flathead Food Bank in Kalispell, as the demand for service continues to grow.
“For the first five months of the year we’re sitting at about 211,000 pounds of food between grocery rescue and donations, where normally at this time of year we would probably be about 400,000," added Quinn.
Quinn said roughly a third of the food banks supply comes through donations, a third through grocery rescue which utilizes unused or unwanted items at grocery stores, and a third through self-purchase.
She said the food bank is now self-purchasing up to 50% of their items.
“It’s kind of hard for us to figure out how to financially turn around and offset those other decreases that we’re seeing when we also have to offset a 40% inflation on the food purchasing that we buy," said Quinn.
Quinn said all food banks across Northwest Montana are hurting, and those in a position to donate are being asked to step up to the plate.
“Where you live, work and play, consider supporting the food banks right now because it might be a conversation at your household of how you’re going to be able to afford things right now, but think about the senior citizen and your grandma that’s living on $800 a month, it’s just not doable when you’re on disability and when you’re on social security there is no increase on that income for yourself,” said Quinn.
Those who would like to donate can do so online.