HELENA – After Governor Steve Bullock declared a winter state of emergency in parts of Montana, local organizations are stepping up to help.

According to Minority Veteran Program Coordinator Buck Richardson, the Montana VA Healthcare System began collecting donations a few days ago for Browning as part of its own emergency relief effort. The VA is working with the Helena Indian Alliance and has set up a drop-off site inside its gymnasium to collect supplies for those who’ve been stuck in the storms.

According to HIA Youth Coordinator Samantha Vulles, they are mainly collecting non-perishable foods, baby supplies like diapers, formula and blankets as well as bottled watered.

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Vulles said now is a chance for Helena to help out neighbors to the north.

“They’re dealing with things that we aren’t dealing with at this time and we need to be there for support,” Vulles said.

The supplies will be transported to Browning where snowmobiles will deliver the supplies. A second transport will happen within the next couple weeks depending on how many more donations come in.

HIA is also facilitating cash donations to Browning by providing stamps.

To donate, visit HIA at 501 Euclid Ave, Helena, MT 59601 during business hours Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Donations can also be dropped off at the Fort Harrison Hospital Lobby between 7:30 am. and 8 p.m.

The VA has also created a drop-off center in Billings to help people in the Northern Cheyenne and the Fort Belknap reservations. Donations will be accepted at the Billings Health Care Center at 1766 Majestic Lane in Billings.