In 1982, a group of compassionate Missoulians decided that our neighbors would have somewhere to go when struggling with hunger.
Missoula Food Bank began as a volunteer effort, delivering boxes of groceries from the trunks of cars to the doorsteps of those in need. Need for this service was great in 1980’s Missoula, when a nationally depressed economy hit our natural resources industry, and we began to see mill closures and job losses across the Five Valleys.
Within the first few months, over 100 boxes of food were being delivered each month, and the need for a more permanent home with regular hours was evident. After a short residence in the basement of the hospital building at Fort Missoula, our food bank moved into the old Creamery building in downtown Missoula, and established regular hours of operation.
As our community has grown, so too has hunger, and because of the generosity of this community, Missoula Food Bank has continued to address food insecurity in our neighborhoods with empathy, equity and dignity. Our store program remains a safe and welcoming place for anyone in our community who may be in need of a little help with food. Missoula Food Bank began serving 100 families each month, we now provide over 7,000 monthly services, and last year we served 1 in 6 people in Missoula County.
Ancillary programs have been developed to assist populations at particular risk of hunger. Kids Table, a summer time and afterschool program, provides nutritious meals to children outside of school hours and during vacations. Kids EmPower Pack provides healthy food for the weekends, when kids don’t have the food at home they need to return to school Monday morning nourished and ready to learn. Through ROOTS, we reach our aging neighbors, delivering grocery staples on a monthly basis. Let’s Talk Turkey is an annual Thanksgiving Day meal distribution, ensuring every family in our community has the opportunity to enjoy a traditional holiday meal.
All these, in addition to a robust food rescue program and a growing advocacy program addressing the causal issues of hunger, are supported with the help of tens of thousands of volunteer hours.
As hunger persists in our community, a move to a new facility is necessary to continue to keep pace with need. With our neighbors we work ever toward a hunger-free Missoula.