GRANITE COUNTY - "We're a food pantry, not a bank. Banks get robbed."
Boyd Camper's sense of humor is not the only skill set that he brings to the Granite County Food Pantry, a new entity established last fall that now provides residents with the ability to feed their families when their income won't quite allow it.
Having opened October 1, 2017, the Food Pantry now helps some 60 families a month with putting meals on the table and keeping them healthy. With more than 180 residents total depending on them in rural Montana, the need is constant and may be growing.
"We feel that it (our numbers) are going increase with the recent Trump Administration food stamp reorganization," Camper explained. "They are requiring single parents with children five and over to seek employment during the month to qualify.
"I don't think we have a bunch of people that will be affected, but it may bring in more that will need help."
The Granite Mountain Food Pantry replaces the Food Bank that was also located in Maxville. But when its chief organizers and volunteers moved from the area last August, country residents were left without a resource to help supplement their needs.
At present the Food Pantry has three drop off points - one at the Flint Creek Baptist Church in Philipsburg (located at 10A on Highway 1), at H&R Thrift Store in Philipsburg (109 W Broadway St.) and the Food Pantry's physical location at 12 Maxville Road in Maxville. They are still seeking a drop off point for Hall and Drummond.
The Food Pantry is funded through donations and volunteer work. At present the Food Pantry has about 10 volunteers, with a few more needed on Fridays during their weekly distribution sessions. They also need someone who can help with keeping their Facebook and internet resources updated.
It's biggest need is covering the $1,100 a month that is required for the day-to-day operations.
People wishing to make a donation to the Granite County Food Pantry can do so by mailing checks or cash to 12 Maxville Road, Philipsburg, Montana, 59858.
The VFW Post 8292 in Maxville has been a big supporter of the effort, hosting a fundraiser last November that brought in $2,200. Hunters and the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have also donated wild game last hunting season including deer, elk, pigs and a moose.
"We're unique in that we are certified by the county to repackage the game and meat we're given," added Camper.
That capability is also valuable when considering that they also get donations from several corporate sponsors in surrounding cities. The Safeway in Deer Lodge, along with the Stokes and Albertsons in Anaconda, are local chain stores that donate to the Food Pantry with some of their product that has surpassed the "Sell By" dates but that are still perfectly healthy and good for eating. In Missoula, the Food Pantry gets assistance from the Poverello Center, Cash & Carry and Albertsons on Reserve Street.
At present the biggest need the Food Pantry has is canned goods, as they are the one thing that the larger entities don't donate. They are also able to offer patrons toiletries, but only when available through donation.
Families needing assistance can get shuttles to the Food Pantry once a month by going to their pick up points. On the second Friday of each month people can get a ride to the Maxville location by going to the Philipsburg Post Office. On the fourth Friday of the month the pickup takes place at the Post Office in Drummond, with an additional stop to get riders in Hall. The time for both locations is noon, with Hall at 12:15. After their visit to the Food Pantry, patrons are then dropped at their homes.
by Tim Allen QSPNLive.com