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North Valley Food Bank gets $25,000 grant for expansion project

by Daily Inter Lake
| July 28, 2021 12:00 AM

A $25,000 grant from the Whitefish Community Foundation will help the North Valley Food Bank expand its facility amid skyrocketing demand for nutrition assistance.

The food bank in Whitefish says it moves about 100,000 pounds of food and supplies through its warehouse every month — three times what the organization handled in 2019. In response, the food bank recently launched a $1.15 million project to expand its warehouse space and add a commercial-grade kitchen so staff and volunteers can process, preserve and store nutritional foods throughout the year, including seasonal fruits and vegetables.

The expanded facility also will include larger walk-in refrigeration and freezer units that staff and volunteers can access with a handcart or forklift.

"The remodel is necessary to address the significant increase in the need for food assistance in the Whitefish area," Sophie Albert, the food bank's executive director, said in a statement. "Since 2019, the number of individuals North Valley Food Bank serves regularly has tripled to 4,445."

The grant came from the Whitefish Community Foundation's Major Community Project Fund, which is dedicated to helping local nonprofits complete capital projects that benefit the community. The foundation reports the fund has doled out $669,000 since its inception in 2010.

Albert said the food bank needs an additional $250,000 to complete the project. Donations can be made at northvalleyfoodbank.org or by calling Albert at 406-862-5863.