It’s been a good week for the Montana Food Bank Network.

On Tuesday, 3,000 pounds of apples were delivered from Spokane for distribution to food pantries all over Missoula. Then, on Wednesday, the MFBN announced that the Town Pump Corporation made a $25,000 grant for fuel to help the organization deliver food across the state.

KGVO News spoke to MFBN President and Chief Executive Officer Gayle Carlson about the generous gift from Town Pump.

“Fuel costs, as everyone knows have gone up tremendously,” said Carlson. “Diesel is over $5.00 per gallon now, and we put in about 125,000 miles a year. So if you take a look at the current fuel costs, it's close to $700,000 we spend on fuel and unfortunately we can't pass that on to our partner agencies, because that's just not within their budget. So we have to absorb that cost. This was just a huge boon for us to be able to get this contribution from Town Pump.”

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Carlson said the Montana Food Bank Network brings much needed food to needy areas all over the state.

“We did about 19 million pounds in 2021,” she said. “During the pandemic in 2020 we did over 24 million pounds. So we distribute a lot of food around the state and that takes a lot of work and a lot of transportation and logistics.”

Carlson said donors provide funds to help the MFBN to purchase food that they distribute across the state.

“We do have a purchase budget, so we were to work with a number of vendors throughout the U.S. to be able to purchase bulk food products, and we also get a lot of donated products from major manufacturers,” she said. “They've either had an overrun or a miss-run marking on the boxes or something like that. So we do get a lot of donations through our national network that way.”

Locally, Carlson said there are a number of food banks and pantries that receive much of their supply from the Montana Food Bank Network.

“We have seven pantries in this area,” she said. “The Missoula Food Bank is one of them, and we have a couple of small church pantries we work with, along with the Poverello Center, so we have a number of pantries right here are agencies right here in this area that we work with.”

Carlson said the Montana Food Bank Network serves over 340 food banks, food pantries, senior centers, shelters and schools across Montana’s 56 counties.

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