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Bigfork Food Bank in need of holiday food items

by TAYLOR INMAN
Bigfork Eagle | December 8, 2021 12:00 AM

The Bigfork Food Bank is looking for holiday food items to give in their Christmas donation boxes. Co-Director Tricia Polett said this could include anything that could contribute to a normal holiday dinner for families in need.

“If you can think about what your holiday favorites are, that’s what we typically try to provide to our clients,” Polett said.

This includes items like pies, hams and turkeys. Pollett said a lot of these holiday items are perishable and that they prefer to have a heads-up or prior arrangement before someone drops them off. She said there’s a donation box at the food bank for non-perishable items that can be accessed at all times, but they want to make sure they have a plan to store perishable items that people bring in. Arranging a drop-off for perishable items can be done by contacting bigforkmtfoodbank@gmail.com or calling the food bank at 406-837-2297.

The number of households the food bank serves has been lower overall this year than their average annual numbers of around 200 households per year. Pollett said this totals to be around 90,000 pounds of food.

She said she believes this decrease in need comes from government assistance programs that expanded to help struggling families through the COVID-19 pandemic. As those assistance programs go back to pre-pandemic operations, more people are turning back to the food bank.

“Our numbers were down at the beginning of the year and are ramping back up very quickly. We served 90 households at our Thanksgiving distribution,” she said.

In mid-October, the food bank was giving out donations to around 21 households, according to their Facebook page. As of the third quarter in 2021, they served a total of 134 households and 297 household and family members, including 71 children, 164 adults, and 62 seniors.

Pollett said even as the number of households they serve increases again, they are seeing more giving than ever.

“We’ve had different food drives throughout this year hosted by other places, but that’s one of the great things about our community. We send out an email every two weeks to a group of people who want to get updates on what we’re doing, and we tell them the number of households we’re serving... and items we need or are getting low on. Just from that and financial donations our needs are met. So, we haven’t had to coordinate any large drive or fundraiser. Without really having to ask, the gifts are there,” she said.

Pollett said the food bank has benefited from “countless generous donations from the community” this year and this holiday season from individuals and businesses alike. In October, Town Pump announced they were matching up to $3,000 for the Bigfork Food Bank. This was part of their annual campaign of matching funds with community donors. Town Pump said in a release that the funds are typically used to purchase perishable food items such as milk, bread, fruit and vegetables. Pollett said they’ve also received donations from Weyerhaeuser and Corwin Motors among other donors.

“We are very grateful, it’s amazing what this community does to help others in our community,” she said.

The meals will be given away on their holiday distribution day on December 14. Pollett said they will be distributing those meals from 9-6 p.m. that day at the Bigfork Food Bank. They are requesting that all holiday food items be donated by December 13.