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Months after the coronavirus pandemic food banks still need help

Posted at 4:04 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 20:29:16-04

KALISPELL — Months after the coronavirus pandemic started, food banks are still in need of assistance.

Jamie Quinn, Executive Director of Flathead Food Bank tells MTN that the need for food assistance from them has been immense.

"The first fifteen weeks of our COVID time we actually brought in about over a million and a half pounds of food," said Quinn. "So, in fifteen weeks we did what we would normally do in fifty-two weeks."

She explained to MTN that Flathead Foodbank can supply curbside pick up six hundreds of boxes of food a week.

Included in those boxes are fresh produce courtesy of the livestock and coronavirus food assistance program.

According to the USDA, this funding relieves farmers who have faced price declines, milk and produce dumping and other hardships during the pandemic.

"All of that extra stuff they had planned for doesn't necessarily have a home now," said Quinn. "So, what they did is they kinda used the food banks as an interim for those locations. Since, again, kids are mostly not going to school at this point."

Executive Director of North Valley Foodbank Jessy Lee told MTN that their distribution has also increased due to the virus.

"The people that we're serving have decreased a little bit but we're still holding steady at about a fifty-five percent increase," said Lee.

Lee explained to MTN that while volunteers are needed the bank wants to be careful, only bringing thirty people inside the building each week.

And the food bank is limiting the age of those that are more susceptible to the virus.

"Our age limit right now is seventy, we just want to be extra careful with folks," said Lee.

She told MTN that for those unable to come to the food bank, they've started a mobile pantry that travels to different parts of Northwest Montana.

The mobile pantry is in Trego from 11:00 AM-11:30 AM and Olney from 12:00 PM to 12:30 PM the first and third Friday of every month.

Lee told MTN that the mobile pantry also travels to Browning on the second and fourth Friday of every month and will make a stop at the Isaac Walton in Essex from 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM.

Quinn says Flathead Valley Food Bank also needs more volunteers after losing the civil air patrol's help in June.

If you would like to volunteer with Flathead Food Bank please contact them (406) 752-3663.

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