HELENA — Farmers to Families food boxes will once again be available in the Helena area.
Overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the program was created to support farmers and ranchers that suddenly had no place to send their food when restaurants shut down and help struggling families with food insecurity in the process.
“We just hear so many people that are telling us how helpful this has been to them, to help stretch at this time when they really may be struggling,” said Helena Food Share Executive Director Bruce Day. “To be honest, we’ve had people that have gotten these food boxes and then become aware of the food that’s available on a daily basis at Helena Food Share.”
Last week the USDA added another $1 billion to the program after spending around $2.5 billion on the program so far this year. Nearly 75 million food boxes were distributed this summer through a program.
After two weeks off due to funding, the program will now be offered on two days in the greater Helena area.
On Tuesdays, people can pick up boxes behind the Helena Food Share Lewis Street Pantry on Railroad Ave. beginning at 10:00 a.m. Boxes will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis until supplies run out.
On Wednesdays, individual orders can be picked up from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Living Hope Fellowship on 4954 Arrowhead Drive. Bulk orders of 15 boxes can be made and picked up beginning at 8:30 a.m., but organizers ask that people register online for the pick up in advance.
There are no qualifications, questions or forms to sign in order to receive a Farmers to Families food box.
Each box contains regionally grown and made produce, meat and/or dairy products.
The program is currently slated to run through the week of September 16, but Helena Food Share says they expect it to continue into October after their conversations with the USDA.
If you or someone you know is struggling with food during the pandemic please reach out to Helena Food Share for assistance. There are no income qualifications and they can help make sure families aren’t deciding to put food on their table or pay their bills.
Helena Food Share has seen an increase in families needing their services, averaging around 70 households a day.
Day says the community has been really stepping up to meet the challenge, but the increased need will likely continue to be a problem as long as the pandemic continues.
More information about Helena Food Share and how to support their mission can be found here.