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Kalispell bakeries, grocery stores helping out Flathead Food Bank

Posted at 3:34 PM, Jan 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-20 18:35:51-05

KALISPELL — A program at the Flathead Food Bank called "food rescue" is using recycled grocery items and baked goods to ehlppeople struggling with hunger.

Ceres Bakery in Kalispell is one of the participants of the food rescue program with co-owner Hannah Bjornson saying that since they opened 14 years ago the bakery has been giving extra food to the food Bank to help who are struggling with food insecurity.

“Any bread that doesn’t get sold, or you know, sometimes, it’s still really tasty, but it’s not super pretty, sometimes that happens, but it can find a good home and people who will enjoy it," explained Bjornson.

The Flathead Food Bank reports that 1-in-8 people in the state faces hunger with executive director Jamie Quinn adding that in the last year alone, the food bank provided over one million pounds of food for those in need.

“We put out close to one point seven million pounds of food out of our doors for all of our programs. And the total meals, conservatively, was over 813,000 meals," said Quinn.

She told MTN News that The Flathead Food Bank also partners with grocery stores – which use special methods to ensure all food is fresh and safe to eat -- for fresh produce.

“What the grocery stores do immediately is they turn around and freeze that meat. And pick it up and it’s completely fine, we have a refrigerated box truck, we bring it back, we put it in our freezers," said Quinn.

"The same with other items, milks, yogurts, the shelf life is much longer on them than what they say. So, milk -- we actually have seven full days to give out past the date. And then for yogurt, there’s actually a month past the date on yogurt that we have to give out,” she explained.

Quinn says this program brings in 16,000 pounds of food for the Flathead Food Bank.

Bjornson told MTN News that it’s important being able to share her baked goods with people. “It’s really nice. And I think it’s really nice because it’s folks that might not come to a specialty bakery to...buy fancy French bread. But the feedback I hear is that people really enjoy it."