Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Gallatin Valley Food Bank

There was a political cartoon in the paper the other day titled "Meals on Wheels" that showed a station wagon labeled Community Food Banks, up on blocks, not going anywhere. That seems to represent food banks nationally, but our food bank has four wheels on the ground and is making good speed. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank has done a great job of reaching out to the community, making it easy to volunteer and fun to donate to, and the efforts are paying off. It is the non-profit of choice when a group wants to do some good with an event; there must be an event every other week that requests donations of food in place of an entrance fee. The letter carriers do a massive food drive every spring that collects about 25,000 pounds of food, there are about two dozen large drives somewhere in the area each year, and there are dozens of small collections of food or money. School kids collect food through schoolwide drives, teens collect canned goods at Halloween instead of candy, ski resorts trade lift tickets for food, hunters provide packaged game meat, and this year saw Huffing for Stuffing, a new race that raises money for the food bank, start up on Thanksgiving day. When the food bank had 60 turkeys in early November and 650 families signed up for Thanksgiving boxes, the newspaper ran an article on it; the food bank received 2500 turkeys, mostly in small donations of one or two turkeys! This was enough to supply all the local boxes, send some to the food banks in Livingston and Three Forks, and have plenty left over for Christmas. Their success is a combination of an easy mission for people to feel good about and for kids to understand, lots of people looking for ways to help others, and superb outreach.

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