The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Our Food Bank is Thankful for the Big Sandy Community


January 25, 2023

The kids in Youth after their Trick or Treating for the Food Bank in October.

The Big Sandy Food Bank has emerged from the 2022 holiday season having served more families than ever before. Between the Angel Tree Basket program, F.E. Miley's Thanksgiving food boxes, and the donations from local businesses, they have managed to meet a growing need in our community after a year of ever-inflating food, energy, and gas bills.

"Without the community's support, we wouldn't be able to serve the people that we serve," explained Terry Grant, who helps run the local programs. While discussing all of the ways the food bank was involved in caring for the community, Terry pointed to the many people and organizations that deserve recognition and thanks.

The Angel Basket program featured prominently in our discussion. Angel Baskets are sponsored by the Chouteau County Women's Club, which has been involved in creating and distributing baskets for around 30 years. Their generous efforts ensure that Christmas lists are fulfilled for kids and families throughout the county. In addition, both Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner are provided by the program to families that receive the baskets. 27 families signed up for the baskets this year. That is 90 people in total, 33 of whom were children. For their amazing efforts to serve the community, the Chouteau County Women's Club and the Angel Committee deserve recognition and thanks. Our community is better for their efforts.

Though the Angel Basket Program did a great deal to serve community needs during the holiday season, our elementary school also worked hard to bless the community through their Thanksgiving food boxes. It is important that we as a community recognize and applaud the effort of the teachers, particularly Samantha Weaver, who has spearheaded the effort. The boxes they collected provided complete Thanksgiving dinners to families in the community who did not sign up for Angel Baskets. Terry explained the FE Miley Thanksgiving boxes and the community food drives made big difference for the food bank's year.

The various food drives sponsored by the community include the very successful Halloween trick-or-treat food collection put on by the youth program at the Big Sandy Church of God and Christ Lutheran Church. Jeramie Erie and Kristie Rutledge organized the outing that collected far more food than in years previous. Terry explained that this sort of effort is particularly important in a year where grocery costs have risen dramatically. The community appreciates the work of the two youth programs and applauds their efforts to live out the mission of Jesus in practical ways.

Another local food drive has taken place in the Big Sandy School system as a whole, where students have been able to bring in canned food to buy exceptions to aspects of the dress code, like wearing hats in school. The ingenuity and community commitment on display from our schools are admirable and appreciated.

In addition to significant support in terms of food stuffs, several businesses and individuals have donated money to the Big Sandy Food Bank, injecting vital resources into the program that has made it possible to meet the growing needs. Terry gave me a long list of organizations that have made an impact on the food bank financially. The Rotary Club generously donated the cost of Thanksgiving Hams for the Food Bank's Thanksgiving boxes. This is a huge deal and totally in character for the Rotary, which works constantly to support community programs and families. Big Sandy is luckyto be blessed with the good people that run our local club. The First Bank of Montana, who are relative newcomers to our community, continue to demonstrate their commitment to Big Sandy families by financially supporting the Food Bank and the Angel Tree program. They deserve our appreciation and recognition for their generosity in ensuring that the holidays were merry times for all of our families. Both Triangle Telephone and Hill County Electric have been financial supporters of our food bank for many years and their generosity is very much appreciated. They deserve recognition and gratitude. Finally, many locals donate to the food bank anonymously by adding money to the Food Bank account at the Grocery Store. That financial support has made it possible to keep the bank stocked in a time when our costs have gone up dramatically.

Terry also mentioned individuals who have donated their time and effort to distribute food and reach out to the community. LeaAnn Williams and her children, in particular, have helped with the leg work for all sorts of projects. LeaAnn picked up and helped distribute the Angel Baskets. Other names that Terry mentioned that deserve recognition include: Jon Johnson, Sarah Shaw, Crystal and Sarah Geyer, and Don Lee Pegar. These folks have helped in all manner of ways, including improving the program's ability to connect with families in need. They deserve our thanks and appreciation.

The Big Sandy Food Bank is currently serving 19 families. This includes 44 individuals. The number of people receiving support and the recipients of Angel Baskets have risen in the past years.

For folks looking to support the Food Bank through donations, you can donate to the account at The Grocery Store, which helps restock the shelves. It also helps purchase gift cards which the food bank distributes to help families purchase milk, eggs, and other perishables. They are currently experiencing a shortage of cereals, oatmeal, and some other specific items. For more information, contact Terry Grant at 406-399-2922.


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