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Great Falls food bank hopes for 'summer surge' of donations

Shaun Tatarka
Posted at 8:05 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 11:09:57-04

GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Community Food Bank is experiencing its busiest summer in decades, with demand spiking in recent months.

"We're up 33 percent in May and June,” said director Shaun Tatarka.

While the increase may be shocking, the potential reasons behind it probably aren't.

"I'm guessing it's because of the economy and some effects of COVID,” Tatarka said.

On top of the summer increase, Tatarka said demand during the fiscal year, which starts in October, was also up by double digits as of Wednesday.

“We're really asking the public if they can help out, either food or cash donations,” said Tatarka.

Tatarka wasn't anticipating the demand decreasing the rest of the summer and that could create another problem.

"What's happening this summer could potentially hurt us this fall. That remains to be seen. I can tell you that our donors are normally a little more active in the fall, so we always feel pretty good come September (and) October, but you never know. It's month to month,” Tatarka explained.

Additionally, the food bank was feeling the price point pain.

"What's happening is the cost of the suppliers is going through the roof,” said Tatarka.

At the end of the day, Tatarka said the situation could be worse though.

"We're probably quite a bit a ways away from saying that we're in any kind of dire straits. I think it would probably take a good, solid of this, what we're going through now. Hopefully that won't happen,” Tatarka.

If you’d like to donate to donate food to the food bank, canned fruit, canned vegetables, and cans of soup were what was needed most as of Wednesday.

If you would like to donate, call 406-452-9029, or mail donations to 1620 12th Avenue North in Great Falls. You can also go online to donate.