Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Flathead Food Bank well-positioned for the future

| January 14, 2021 12:00 AM

The Flathead Food Bank recently purchased the space it has occupied at the Gateway Community Center in Kalispell for many years. On the surface, some may not see this as a big deal, but it’s a significant move for the crucial nonprofit in terms of future growth and the ability to better serve the community.

For starters, the purchase now guarantees the food bank will continue to operate in close proximity to other vital nonprofit resources at the Gateway center, including Northwest Montana United Way.

Having a permanent space will allow the Flathead Food Bank to push ahead with other plans to expand its ability to provide food to those who need a hand up during trying economic times. Food Bank Executive Director Jamie Quinn recently told the Inter Lake about plans to renovate the 27,000-square-foot space to include additional pantry and freezer space that will serve as a warehouse. This will allow the food bank to store and distribute products to other nearby food banks and organizations more often.

The long-term goal is to be the primary warehouse for all of Northwest Montana. Another project in the works is the construction of a commercial kitchen.

“COVID has proved why the food bank is so important to the community,” Quinn aptly pointed out. “It’s critical that we are here and ready to step up when they need us most and warehousing will help us do that when the next big event comes along, whether that’s a pandemic or a natural disaster, or other catastrophes.”

The Flathead Valley is fortunate to have other food banks working on the front lines as well, such as the new food pantry at Flathead Valley Community College and the North Valley Food Bank based in Whitefish.

No one should have to go hungry; we applaud all of these organizations and the volunteer forces behind them that work tirelessly to keep food on the tables of Flathead families.