Help make a mountain of food

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There’s more than one way to build a mountain of food and those who want to help the Flathead Food Bank have plenty of opportunities.

The pantry has a one-day blitz planned for Saturday, May 20. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. shoppers can donate to the Build A Mountain of Food campaign at any of the following groceries: In Evergreen at Super 1; and in Kalispell, at Super 1, Smith’s, Albertsons and Wal-Mart.

The eight-hour effort will help stock the pantry’s shelves for the coming summer months when children are often disconnected from food programs during the school year.

Another creative way to help out the food bank is by donating gift cards. If you have a card you don’t think you’ll use or need you can give it to the Flathead Food Bank and it can be redeemed for cash. Donations are 100 percent tax deductible for the full face value of the card or its remaining balance.

Making change also makes sense. Students, groups, organizations and families can pool their pocket change to make a single donation. The food bank has ways to make your change collection more fun, creative and challenging. Call for more information.

Applied Materials in Kalispell takes its food drives to the next level. Last year the company hosted an employee chili cook-off and invited staff from the food bank as judges. After the winners were announced, the employees bought bowls of their favorite along with ice cream for lunch. The business also sponsored a virtual bowling tournament and a mini-golf tournament in which each hole is made out of canned food. All these events raised money to buy food in support of the food bank. During football season the company pits a Griz team against a Bobcat team and the ensuing gridiron battle ends with thousands of pounds of nonperishable food and matching funds from Applied Materials’ corporate office — making the food bank the clear winner.

The Flathead Food Bank also recognizes the need to provide emergency food for pets. Stories of individuals who sacrifice their own food security to provide for their beloved pets are too familiar to staff members. If you are able, consider adding to your food bank donation a second donation of a bag or can of dog or cat food. You’ll be helping keep a “family” together.

And now that spring is here and gardens everywhere are calling all green thumbs, how about adding a row or two for your neighbors in need? Fresh food is always appreciated.

The food bank’s April newsletter points out that hunger is the result of a “perfect storm.” Poverty. Lack of education. Unemployment and underemployment. Lack of affordable housing and health care. All can combine to produce an unexpected crisis for individuals and families in our community.

For more information, visit www.flatheadfoodbank.com or call 752-3663.

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