Missoula Food Bank began in 1982, at which point we were a small, completely volunteer-run, fledgling organization that packed and delivered food boxes from a donated basement space. We found our first “home” the next year as we set up in the basement of the old Creamery Building on Railroad Street.
1984 brought another operational benchmark as we relocated to the old Spaghetti Warehouse on Alder St., where we began to organize partnerships with local grocers to collect food five days a week. Here, we also established our partnership with RSVP for volunteers - still a major source of great volunteers today!
In further coordinating our outreach efforts, we initiated our first Holiday Food Drive in 1985 with the Missoulian and Stone Container Corp. Our generous community donated nearly 43,000 pounds of food in this first Holiday Drive effort.
As our programs and resources continued to build, we were able to buy our first facility at 219 South 3rd Street in 1992, from which we still operate today. Formalizing our already established relationship with local grocers, we began our Food Circle program in 1999, which represented the first prepared and perishable food rescue program in Montana (and one of the first three in the United States!).
While the vast majority of our food distribution occurs from daily shopping visits to our grocery store, we have been able to integrate a few special distribution programs including: Let’s Talk Turkey, a Thanksgiving-week turkey dinner distribution (2000); Kids Table, a summer feeding program designed specifically for children who are eligible for entitlement programs during the school year but who are under-nourished during school breaks (2001); ROOTS, or Other Opportunities to Serve, a monthly food delivery program created to provide food for low income, homebound senior citizens (2001).
Our services and our reach have steadily grown over the years, and beginning in 2003, have even included satellite distribution centers in places like Lolo and Potomac.
As our path has been shaped by numerous partnerships, we are very proud of our colorful journey and for the threads of generosity and service that have tightly woven together lives in this community for so many years. With decades of experience under our belt, we are proud of the organization we have become, which now accommodates more than 60,000 client visits each year!