Town Pump seeks to raise two million for food banks

25_food-0446PLACING FOOD  — Terrance Kleinsasser and Jacob Gouchenour place food at the local Food Pantry recently as part of a community service project.  Photo for the I-O by Carey Monahan




As the number of Montanans going hungry continues to grow in a tough economy, the Town Pump Charitable Foundation seeks to raise a record $2 million this year during its ninth annual fundraising campaign 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 $350,000 in contributions to Montana food banks made now through Nov. 30.

That amount is $50,000 more than last year. A record 56 food banks are participating this year.

The Foundation will match up to $2,500 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. Also, the funds are becoming more crucial in helping many food bank organizations simply stay open through payment of rent, utilities, space for storage, refrigeration and freezing.

Elmer Philipps of the Pondera Food said the need continues to increase.

“We seem to be picking up a few each week,” he said, adding that the Town Pump fundraiser “really helps.”

The Be a Friend in Deed, Helping Those in Need campaign raised a record $1.72 million last year alone. The campaign has raised over $6.6 million for food banks statewide in eight years.

“We recognize that more and more Montanans are struggling in these tough economic times, and more families don’t have enough to eat,” said Maureen Kenneally, of the Town Pump Foundation. “To help meet this growing demand, Town Pump is increasing its support for our Montana food banks for the ninth year in a row. Please join us in helping our neighbors. 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, in Conrad, 59425.