MISSOULA — The Missoula Food Bank and Community Center reports that 2020 has been the busiest year they've ever had, and it just received one of its biggest donations ever.
The food bank is currently looking to raise $250,000 and 50,000 pounds of food for the 35th annual Holiday Food Drive.
Last week, PayneWest Insurance gave them $75,000 as part of a statewide giveaway, getting them closer to the goal. The food bank has now raised $225,000. Executive director Aaron Brock says that donation should help them surpass the goal, but food insecurity is still a growing reality for our neighbors.
The food bank served more than 11,000 individuals in October, not including meal delivery programs. Additionally, visits to the food bank are up 20% over last year -- and now 1 out of every 4 Missoulians are using the food bank.
Brock expects the need to continue through the new year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
"We wish that the numbers were going in the opposite direction. We wish that there were fewer people who needed our service,” Brock said. “And at the same time, we're grateful to a community that's continued to give graciously so that every single family, every single individual walking through our doors, we've got good food for them. “That's a testament to the way that this Missoula community helps take care of its neighbors."
Brock says when times are tough, Missoula residents are always the first to ask how they can help out. He doesn't know what to expect for next year, but funds and donations from this food drive will help support them through 2021.