Gathers quality “rescued” food as well as purchased food to distribute to our more than 70 agency partners who serve the hungry throughout North Central Montana.
Our partnership with more than 65 agencies has allowed Great Falls Community Food Bank to distribute 1.4 million pounds of food in the last two years alone. This means underprivileged children can learn on a full stomach; recently laid off workers can feed families while they seek work; and seniors won’t have to choose between vital medicine and food.
How we help:
Staff at a Great Falls elementary school recently identified a hungry child and began sending the child home two Backpacks4Kids bags every week. After Child Protective Services had to step in to further help, the school found out that the child had been using the packs to feed multiple siblings, including an infant, all-the-while living in a meth house.
Those children may very well have starved to death if it wasn’t for the Backpacks4Kids Program.
There are thousands of children in Cascade County living in poverty and suffering food insecurity. For many students, the meals they receive at school may be the only food they will have all day. The Food Bank’s Backpacks4Kids program is designed to meet the needs of schoolchildren at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and holiday breaks. Participation in Backpacks4Kids relieves children’s stress before those breaks, making them more capable of learning when they return to school, and less likely to act out in class.
“I have seen a kindergartner hug a bag [of food] upon receiving it,” says Liz Pipinich, GFPS Family Engagement Advocate. “When a small child’s face goes from worry to joy because they get to eat this weekend, it is hard to ignore. The impact this program makes is tangible.”
Childhood hunger in Great Falls has many causes: unemployment, underemployment, parental chemical addiction, etc. But regardless of the cause, school-related personnel and the Food Bank are ready to help.