MISSOULA — The Missoula Food Bank is historically at its busiest during the holiday season and this year they're short on volunteers — that's why a fifth grade class is stepping up to help out.
A class of Sussex School students walk to the food bank every other Wednesday to volunteer their time. This week, the kids got to work scooping, packing, and twisting macaroni bags.
"We love to be doing this to help everybody out, and it's actually pretty fun," said one student.
Teacher Daniel Flemings said the kids look forward to these Wednesdays, "they're always disappointed, on the Wednesdays that we Don't come in, it might be because I make them do school work."
Flemings added they're proud to give back.
"They seem to have a grip on the actual impact it has on the community. I think it'd be easy for them to be like oh why do we have to put all this macaroni in a bag, but they love it, and i think they understand why they're doing it."
Missoula Food Bank officials say what the kids re-pack will feed hundreds of Missoula area families.
"Keeping up with the amount of repacking that needs to be done, and getting that food onto our shelves is so very critical," said Missoula Food Bank Director of Operations Kelli Hess.
"We have been getting fairly busy, especially since the pandemic, and since we opened back up our doors this past summer. Right now with the holiday season coming along we're seeing a lot more people come through," said volunteer coordinator Marcus Omeasoo.
The packs will be on the shelves by Thursday, ready to feed Missoula. "Not only do they do really valuable work for us, but having kids engaged in the process just helps build the spirit of philanthropy," said Hess.
The class will continue its volunteer efforts through the end of the year. Sussex school also recently held a fresh food drive and donated 1,500 pounds of fresh food to the food bank.