GREAT FALLS — The Missoula-based Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) recently received a donation of 19,800 pounds of hamburger meat from The Producer Partnership.
The donation was facilitated by a non-profit organization through its mission of farmers and ranchers working together to end hunger in Montana.
"We started our program in 2020 and basically we just take in donated animals, get them processed, and then donate the hamburger across the state," explained Producer Partnerships president Matt Pierson.
Pierson started Producer Partnerships in April of 2020 as the COVID-19 Pandemic struck businesses across the country. He thought it was the perfect opportunity to contribute to fellow Montanans.
"It sort of started when the shelter-in-place hit in Montana in 2020, and it was just a way for us to give back to our community and help people," Pierson said. The local food bank in Livingston saw a 300% increase in the number of people coming through, and just didn't have enough access to protein or anything else."
"Once we got started, we blew past what the Livingston Bank could even keep in their freezer, so we just started reaching out, and the more we reached out, it began taking on a life of its own and grew from there to what we have today," Pierson continued.
The Montana Food Bank Network will deliver the donated meats to a variety of organizations in Great Falls including Vineyard Mercy Ministry where Pastor Rick Mazaira noted it not only his church but partners around the Great Falls community.
"It helps out a lot in our community, as far as also the kind of partnerships we have with for the churches and two other agencies to be able to distribute food, so we'll probably be able to feed about, with what we see here, probably about a hundred people, a hundred households over the course of the next month."
As meat products will be delivered all around Great Falls, Pierson hopes to continue his business in not only helping fight hunger, but also to contribute to fellow Montanans after Producer Partnerships purchased its own modular processing unit.