The following blog series by Montana Food Bank Network Volunteer Coordinator Elizabeth Weaver shares a little more insight to hunger issues in Montana, and why we've chosen to champion this cause.
“There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies” ~Sir Winston Churchill
We have all heard the phrase: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
In the fight to end hunger, it really does. Nearly all clients who visit the local food bank or food pantry aren’t playing the system. They aren’t looking for a handout. They aren’t lazy. The majority of folks who utilize this resource have fallen on hard times. Perhaps they lost their job or are having difficulty finding work. Perhaps they do have a job but don’t make enough to pay the bills and buy food. Maybe they have medical expenses that are monopolizing their paycheck so they turn to the one resource that will help them feed themselves and their families.
For our community, supporting your local feeding programs and food pantries is the best investment you can make.
Studies show children who have enough nutritious food to eat have an easier time staying focused and learning. They are healthier and don’t miss as much school. The same can be said for their parents. Adults who are receiving enough proteins and nutrients are more productive in their job (and don’t find it as physically challenging). In addition, they don’t take as many sick days or have to miss as much work-either for them or their kids.
As a community, the best outcome is to have all members contributing and thriving. No one wants to rely on others for their next meal; but sometimes life’s curveball of circumstances dictates a news course — a course none of us expected to be on. How we navigate that course is often determined by the support and encouragement surrounding us. Offering vital and basic resources like food to neighbors in need or sacrificing for their children helps build community. It creates a feeling of belonging and a desire to bestow the same kindness on someone else. If we all invested in the human potential of our towns, how much stronger would our communities be?
Elizabeth Weaver is the Development/Volunteer Coordinator for the Montana Food Bank Network, based in Missoula. As the only statewide food bank, the Montana Food Bank Network solicits, sorts, repackages, warehouses, and distributes donated and purchased food to charitable programs that directly serve hungry Montanans. From a main warehouse and office in Missoula, MFBN distributes emergency food across the state through a network of over 150 Partner Agencies.