Year-end success for Billings Family Service and Billings Food Bank
BILLINGS – It has been a tumultuous year for many Montanais during the pandemic. A bright light in the midst of it all, organizations like the Billings Food Bank and Billings Family Service have been able to help people more than ever.
“It’s a joy for us to be here,” said Director of Family Services Stacy Brown.
Food security is an ongoing issue for many and COVID hasn’t helped. Billings Family Service has had a pivotal year when it comes to helping families in need both locally and regionally.
“We have seen tremendous growth, not only in people coming for help, but also regionally,” Brown said.
Family Service has been able to expand to areas such as Mile City, Lewistown, Harlowton and even to Cody, Wyoming. They plan to expand even further after the premiere next year.
“I think this year, as far as donations go, it’s been just remarkable,” Brown said.
Last year, Billings Family Service distributed more than 4.5 million pounds of food to nearly 50,000 households locally and regionally.
“This year I imagine it will be half again, if not more,” Brown said.
The pandemic has highlighted the need for donations.
“COVID is part of the reason we’ve had a good year due to the focus on hunger and food issues,” said Billings Food Bank Executive Director Sheryle Shandy.
The Billings Food Bank has served nearly 546,000 people in the past year.
“Kilos of food; 26,905,534 pounds, ”Shandy said.
That means the community of Billings has donated nearly $ 50 million worth of food to those in need.
Turkey’s annual second-quarter Tuesday, in partnership with Billings Food Bank, was also a record-breaking event. Not only did we see the most turkeys ever donated, over $ 57,000 in monetary donations.
“We’ve just had a really good year,” said Shandy.
It’s been an unprecedented year, but Family Service and the Billings Food Bank still have a need.
“I think the special needs right now are food, rentals, and help with utilities,” Brown said.
Shandy says the food bank is getting a lot of cans and is looking for more fresh produce.
“We want to start being able to give more fruits, fresh fruits and vegetables to all of our customers,” Shandy said.
Both organizations are more than grateful to be a part of the Billings community. It is the one who keeps going beyond their expectations.
“I always want to say thank you to our supporters because we don’t do it ourselves,” said Shandy.