Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula County Community Assistance Fund dates way back to the 1800’s and the first years of the Missoula community. Nancy Ritel is the Grants Administrator for Missoula County and she spoke about the annual program that helps Missoula’s most needy citizens.

A Program that Dates to the Early 1800s Continues in Missoula

“The Missoula County Community Assistance Fund has been a fund that helps the at-risk and vulnerable populations and this fund really has a genesis back into the start of Missoula,” Ritel said. “The Legislative Assembly, well, it wasn't even legislators in the assembly back in the 1800’s, and really it is just to help those who need some assistance.”

Ritel explains how the annual funds are distributed.

The Grants are Competitive for the Many Groups that Apply

“We open up applications to social service agencies to see if they can help out with the basic human needs," Ritel said. "There are four categories. It's food, shelter, medical services, and emergency transportation. Each year, like this year, we had $974,436 grants awarded. That amount helped to benefit 221 different programs.”

Ritel said the programs provide funding for a wide variety of groups in Missoula County.

“The people being served through these funds are all the way from babies up to the elderly and disabled,” Ritel said. “You've got the babies in foster care, you've got (Missoula) Youth Holmes and Watson Children's Shelter, you've got (Missoula) Aging Services that provide congregate meals up in the Seeley Swan Valley as well as locally, and you've got the Human Resource Council and the Salvation Army that help with rental assistance for aging and disabled homeless. It's all over the gamut of the demographics that are served. I just love this program for that.”

In addition, the Missoula Substance Abuse Prevention mill levy provides nearly $400,000 for a wide variety of programs listed below.

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Gallery Credit: Chris Wolfe

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