Coronavirus concerns prompt changes at Missoula Food Bank

Posted at 3:39 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 17:39:50-04

MISSOULA — The Missoula Food Bank has responded to the coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak concerns in the Missoula area with some tweaks to how to get food and some cancellations of their programs.

Missoula Food Bank Executive Director Aaron Brock says there's no shortage of food and that the necessity of staying open forced them to figure out a way to make it more safe for families to grab their food during this difficult time.

While other community programs like the Learning Kitchen, the EmPower place center and other community will close for the time being Missoula Food Bank will continue to help families in need. With the COVID 19 outbreak now touching the local community the Missoula Food Bank has an important message for the families that use their services.

"The first thing that we are doing is making sure that every family that needs to get food here still can we are open and food is available," Brock said. The only difference for those families grabbing food will be how they go about doing that.

"So normally we have a store system where it’s a customer choice model where people pick the food and get what they want off the shelves right now we are tweaking that going to grab and go box and bag model just to minimize the exposure that one another have in this space," Brock added.

While its not the ideal model it’s a way that a necessity for families can continue operations in the safest way possible.

"You know food is kind of a non negotiable. So when folks need us throughout the year no matter what is going on in the rest of their lives we want to make sure that we are accessible to them. This is no different," Brock said. "As we as a community and a nation face this crisis we need to make sure there is food on the table for every family and child who needs it no matter what and so yes we need to make sure that we can stay open."

In order to stay open the Missoula Food Bank had been working on a plan just in case that something like this effected Montana.

"The creative solution to staying operational speaks to the ingenuity of the Food Banks staff, directors and volunteers," Brock said. "Our basic store service is not considered a congregation, but the reality is on a busy day there are many people in close proximity to each other. So how do we tweak that."

Click here for more information about the changes being put in place at the Missoula Food Bank.