MISSOULA — The Missoula Food Bank's 34th annual holiday drive is underway.
The organization aims to raise $250,000 and 55,000 pounds of food during the month of December, a goal that executive director Aaron Brock says is ambitious.
“We do know that it is a big ask of this community, and we are thankful for the incredible support we see from our neighbors each year,” said Brock. “It is essential to the basic needs services we provide from our facility every day.”
Nearly 1,000 more unique households have visited the food bank so far in 2019 than in the entirety of 2018 and the organization’s services have reached 8,803 different homes in Missoula County so far this year.
With one of the busiest months still ahead, Kelli Hess, operations director, says that the reasons that people come to the food bank vary.
“Of the nine families I spoke to, two were here because their hours were cut at work because of holidays," said Hess. “While some businesses may be closed on certain holidays, they may not offer holiday pay, which can be a 20% cut in a person’s paycheck that week.”
Other reasons, notes Hess, include the cost of childcare and health care, with the most reported reasons for food insecurity at the Missoula Food Bank being the cost of housing and underemployment.
Donations can be made to Missoula Food Bank and Community Center in person or by mail at 1720 Wyoming Street, Missoula, MT 59801, or online at missoulafoodbank.org. Food donations can also be dropped off at any Missoula fire station, at the Missoula Food Bank, or at any First Security Bank branch.