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'Coins For A Cause' donations help Whittier school food pantry

'Coins For A Cause' donations help Whittier school food pantry
Posted at 10:54 AM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 12:54:14-05

GREAT FALLS — The Downtown Safety Alliance presented Whittier Elementary School with $417.63 on Thursday, March 10, 2022 through its "Coins For A Cause" program.

The program was created in December 2012 to give people an alternative to giving money to panhandlers. The Downtown Safety Alliance says homelessness is an issue that affects everyone in our community, and that giving spare change to panhandlers is only a short-term remedy that can propagate the poverty cycle and does not create a long-term solution. Donations collected from containers set up in several downtown businesses are provided to organizations that provide direct services and resources to people in need.

It was the ninth annual distribution of donations collected through the "Coins For A Cause" program. Whittier Elementary School’s food pantry was chosen for this year's donation.

Dean Jardee, Whittier's library media specialist, said, "It's exciting to come in and be able to have someone come in and help fund the pantry because we have a lot of families that come in and just get a box of food once every couple of months. It's just nice to have people that are generous in our community that help us out with that."

Carol Bronson, NeighborWorks Great Falls Director of Community Initiatives, said, "We started the program because it was so important to have a community conversation about panhandling, and so back in 2012, when people were really starting to talk about how can we improve the downtown, this would be a good way."

Bronson explained why they chose Whittier as the recipient for 2021: "Because Whittier provides an incredible amount of extraordinary services to their students and so students in need here were something that we felt was really an important part of the downtown discussion. The library does lots of things with them, and it's really important to support the kids here."

"For a program to go 10 years through two years of the pandemic, and we've given out 400 to 500 dollars a year, for 10 years, it's been amazing," she noted. "We're very proud of what we've done and how much discussion the community has had."

The Downtown Safety Alliance is made up of the Great Falls Business Improvement District, NeighborWorks Great Falls, the Great Falls Police Department, the Downtown Great Falls Association, Neighborhood Councils, and the Downtown Development Partnership.


'Coins For A Cause' donations help Whittier food pantry
'Coins For A Cause' donations help Whittier food pantry