GREAT FALLS — A food pantry providing food not just once a month or every week - but every day. That's what the Oyo-P Food Pantry does for the Blackfeet Nation.
The food pantry works with several organizations including the North Valley Food Bank and the Montana Food Bank Network. An estimated 30,000 pounds of food every six to eight weeks - that's roughly 300 boxes of free groceries every week, with daily offerings for those with the most need.
Jonathon St. Goddard said, "It's helped us out to where we don’t lose weight in these times of need, to where we have so many blessings.”
Distributing the food is a community affair: Browning United Methodist Church has housed the pantry while their building is being renovated; Browning Lumber provides forklifts to move food pallets; and community residents volunteer their time to distribute the food.
Cindy Salway, manager of the food pantry, explained, “Anywhere from seven to ten volunteers that come in and make up all these different sized family boxes. Today, April 29th, is the end of the month and people are hurting. People are running out of their food stamps or their commodities so I expect a big distribution for in-town. Not only that but when we get the big truck here and everybody out here busy on this corner and all the food, people just come. They just come and it end up being a pretty big distribution and a pretty big production.”
A production providing relief - no questions asked; Salway said, “We don’t go according to income, we go according to need. If people come and ask for it, then they need it.”
The next distribution will be May 3rd from 3 pm to 5:30 pm.