BOZEMAN — As inflation and the high cost of living challenge residents of Bozeman and the surrounding area, the Gallatin County Food Bank has seen a large increase in households served over the course of the last year. The HRDC's Food and Nutrition Department Director, Jill Holder, spoke with us Tuesday about how this increase in demand has affected the food bank.
“We have seen a pretty huge increase it really started, it was very noticeable in March," says Holder. "March, April, May and June have all been significantly higher than the year prior."
Holder says the food bank is really trying to keep up with demand and stock their shelves with as much as possible for those in need.
“I mean we always try to stay ahead of it with our inventory, but there are things that go much quicker than other things,” says Holder.
Holder believes that inflation is certainly a contributing factor to the high demand of the food bank. She also thinks there are other factors that have contributed to the high food demand at the food bank.
“Family tax credit, they’re not getting that monthly allotment now, that went away," says Holder. "When the gas prices went up and the food prices went up."
She also says they have seen many people come in talking about how their cost of living in the area has greatly increased.
“Certainly housing prices are such a huge part of what we see," Holder points out. "So many people come in and say their rent was just raised.”
In March of 2021, the food bank served 901 households. In March of 2022, they served 1,395 households. This is a 55 percent increase in demand in just a year.
“In May we saw a 100 percent increase, in June we saw a 58 percent increase,” she says.
Volunteers and donors of the food bank are a huge source of help with making sure people are getting the food they need. Holder expresses a lot of gratitude for the help they have provided to the food bank.
“We would be sunk without our volunteers and our donors.”
Holder says she doesn't want people to hide from help if they need it and that the Gallatin Valley Food Bank is always here to assist community members.
“We’re really trying to make sure people get what they need.”