HELENA — Hundreds of Helena-area families now have what they need for their Thanksgiving meal, thanks to Helena Food Share and help from the community.
Monday was the conclusion of Food Share’s annual holiday meal distribution. Volunteers filled carts with the traditional Thanksgiving staples – potatoes, stuffing, rolls and vegetables – and added a turkey for each customer. They then handed off the meals to families at the curbside.
Executive director Bruce Day said, by Monday morning, more than 1,100 people had signed up to receive a holiday meal.
“The demand has been high, as it usually is,” he said.
Last week, Food Share held its annual Turkey Challenge – this time as a virtual event. The community donated enough money to pay for 2,900 holiday meals.
“This will help us make sure that there’s enough for everybody at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that we’ll have meals for people into the new year,” said Day.
In previous years, customers have come into the food pantry to pick up their food. This year, that wasn’t possible because of COVID-19 restrictions. It took more work for Food Share to prepare the meal boxes, and there were fewer volunteers available, so the distribution was spread out over three days.
Despite the changes, Day said distribution day is always meaningful.
“We don’t have quite the connection with people coming in – it’s curbside, they’re driving by in their cars and we’re loading their cars for them with the groceries – but always, every year, the people calling, the people coming in, just indicating what a big help this is, to make sure that they have enough food in their home for this holiday and beyond,” he said.
While this distribution is over, Day encouraged anyone who is in need of food assistance to reach out to them. You can call (406) 443-3663 or go to the Helena Food Share website for more information.
The food pantry will be open Tuesday this week, then return to regular hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week.