GARDINER - Montana Food Ark and the Gardiner Food Bank coordinated a flight to deliver more than 700 pounds of food to the flood-impacted communities in and surrounding Gardiner.
On June 28th, fresh eggs, flour, bread, frozen beef and more were loaded up on a Kodiak 100 for a 20-minute trip to Gardiner, to be distributed to the town and Mammoth via the food pantry.
“A lot of people lost their jobs, and their living situations got rearranged,” Rebecca Bent, a Gardiner resident said, “There’s an extremely high need in our town for support.”
When the Kodiak touched down on the Gardiner airstrip, members of the community, including Rebecca’s husband and daughter, lined up to begin moving the boxes of food from the plane to the van.
“It feels really good because we can pay forward our blessings and help people in need that have fallen on hard times,” Elise Lininger, board member for the Montana Food Ark, said.
The Montana Food Ark is an organization, currently going through the steps of becoming a 501c3 nonprofit, that provides high-quality food to those in need.
When the flooding happened, they began making calls to coordinate with local ranchers and farmers to get food to those in
“We use locally sourced grains, and meats, and eggs, and we all come together as a community to help source the garden,” Lininger said.
All of that food, boxed up, driven to a Bridger Aerospace hanger — who donated their pilots time and plane for the trip — loaded up into the plane and was passed off into the food pantry van.
“We’re distributing because there’s a lot of people that have no jobs, including business owners because they haven’t been open,” Gardiner Food Bank Executive Director Linda Gray said.
The food will not only affect the community of Gardiner but their neighbors in Mammoth who had to utilize western roads to travel to get food.
“They’re going to be a little less scared because at least they know that they can feed themselves or their families,” Gray said, “When your basic needs are taken away from you—and food is one of them—you get a little scared and apprehensive.”
The hope is that the Food Ark food will ease that fear, and assist individuals and families recovering from the flood.