Montana Attorney General Tim Fox hosted a Facebook live press conference on Friday in Helena speaking about encouraging community support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fox spoke with Gayle Carlson, Executive Director of the Montana Food Bank Network in Missoula about the unprecedented demand on food pantries during the crisis.

“We are receiving reports from a number of food pantries that there has been a dramatic increase in assistance needed already,” said Carlson. “For example, Gallatin Valley Food Bank said that they have been receiving a 25 percent increase each day this week of the number of individuals coming to their food pantry.”

Fox asked Carlson about how Montanans can support food pantries locally and through the Montana Food Bank Network.

“If they want to keep their donations local, they can send it to their local food pantry, and we always appreciate that,” she said. “If they would like to assist the statewide effort they can go on to our website at MFBN dot org and make a donation that way. Unfortunately, we cannot any food donations or volunteers at this time because we try to keep everything that we can to keep our food supply as secure and safe as possible for all those local pantries.”

Carlson detailed where donations to the Montana Food Bank Network would go.

“The donations that you give right now will be used for the purchase of additional reserves, so that we can make sure that those pantries are as stocked and as full as they need to be, and then also to help us with our distribution costs,” she said. “We usually do food distributions throughout the state over a six week cycle and we know we’re going to have to increase that, so we’re going to need that assistance as well.”