HELENA – Last year, Helena Food Share provided over one million pounds of food to people in need.
The local community is generous with donations, but a sizable amount of that food came from grocery stores that gave over 900,000 pounds of food in 2018 alone.
The donated food is not just out-of-date items. Stores have limited storage in stockrooms, so when excess product is ordered, or the best-by date is approaching, the food needs to go somewhere.
Instead of tossing the items into the trash, the food goes to Helena Food Share.
“Grocery Rescue,” as the program is called, helps to bridge the gap between stores’ excess and hungry Helena residents. Each day, trucks gather food that used to be thrown away.
Dave Anderson has driven the delivery truck for eight years. He said he is glad to help people in need.
“You think, this used to all be going to the garbage,” he said, “and it’s perfectly usable food.”
On Wednesday alone, 4,800 pounds of food were collected. But even though that sounds like a lot, it goes quickly.
“Almost all of this will be gone today,” said volunteer Elinor Edmunds Miller. “We’ll have clients lined up outside when the pantry opens at 12:30 and there will be a steady stream of customers coming in to choose their groceries. So, basically everything will be gone.”
Staff and volunteers said they’re glad to reduce both waste and hunger in the community.
-Reported by Katie Alexander/MTN News