Town Pump fundraiser to ease record need

   Striving to help feed Montana’s hungry when a record number are receiving food stamps, the Town Pump Charitable Foundation seeks to raise over $1.5 million this year during its eighth annual fundraiser for Montana food banks, including the Pondera Food Pantry in Conrad.
   As part of the campaign, the Town Pump Charitable Foundation will match up to $300,000 in contributions to Montana food banks made now through Nov. 30. A record 52 food banks are participating this year.
   The Foundation will match up to $2,000 on behalf of the Pondera Food Pantry, and all funds raised in Conrad will remain in the community.
   The money is used to purchase perishable food items such as milk, bread, fruit and vegetables.
   However, the funds are becoming more crucial in helping many food bank organizations simply stay open through payment of rent, utilities, and space for storage, refrigeration and freezing.
   “There’s a little more need this year,” said Elmer Philipps of the Pondera Food Pantry. “And our bills are higher.”
   The “Be A Friend in Deed, Helping Those In Need” campaign raised a record $1.45 million last year alone, and has raised about $4.9 million for food banks statewide in the campaign’s seven years.
   “Each year we have seen a growing number of Montanans struggling to make ends meet,” said Maureen Kenneally, of the Town Pump Foundation.
   She went on to add, “While other charitable efforts have declined, we have seen an increase in support for our Montana food banks, proving that together we make a difference.”
   Donations for the campaign are being collected at the Conrad Town Pump, Lucky Lil’s and Super 8 Motel. Donations also can be sent directly to Pondera Food Pantry, Route 1 Box 65, 59425 in Conrad.