Executive director of North Valley Food Bank Jessy Lee told MTN that because of the coronavirus, the food bank is serving 60 percent more people than usual.
"We really are serving every demographic of people in our area," Lee said. "We're serving business owners, we're serving families who have just never needed to use these services before. It's plummeting families into poverty that have never had those types of concerns before."
She said that the bank is opening their services to anyone with food insecurity. Pre-packaged meals are available for curbside pick-up and those in need only fill out an intake form.
All employees wear masks and gloves while packaging the food.
"We don't have qualifications, we don't have any restrictions," said Lee. "And that food is a basic right and anyone who needs access to food should stop by."
Lee explained that rural Montanans in Olney and Trego were having difficulty accessing the pantry. So, the bank started the mobile pantry service that goes to those areas.
"Eighteen out of the 20 families in Trego had never used our services before," said Lee. "And four out of the 10 in Olney were brand new. So, 73 percent of the folks we served last Friday in those communities never had access or never needed our services before."
The mobile pantry goes to Olney and Trego the first and third Friday of every month. Lee encourages those struggling to pay for housing and food to prioritize food and come to the food bank.
The food bank is located at 251 Flathead Ave., in Whitefish and is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.