Food bank goods dwindle in spring


Despite the rain and cloudy skies, spring and warmer weather has finally come to Miles City. Like the snow melting into the ground, the supplies on the shelves of the Custer County Food Bank are dwindling away.

“Just because the weather is nicer doesn’t mean that the food situation has changed,” said Bob Parker, director of the Custer County Food Bank. “People still are hungry and need food.”

Parker explained that during the colder months of the year, people tend to donate more food and monetary gifts to the food bank. Especially during the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, many people focus on making donations to those who are less fortunate than they are.

As the  temperatures get warmer, donations to the food bank start to drop and the shelves start to look a little bare.

“The annual CHS Harvest for Hunger food and fund drive by the Country Operations Division of CHS result was phenomenal,” Parker said. 

During the event, Farmers Elevator joined CHS locations around the country to raise more than $512,000 and 443,000 pounds of food for hungry families. Eastern Montana received a significant amount of money for local charities, including several in Miles City and the area. CHS is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives around the United States. Justin McPherson, CHS retail account manager of Farmers Elevator Eastern Montana Operations Division of CHS Inc., headed up the local project.

Parker said that a challenge was held between Garfield, Highland Park and Lincoln elementary schools to see how much food each school could collect, with the winner receiving a pizza party. Garfield Elementary School’s first through sixth grades collected 1,089 pounds of food. Together Highland Park and Lincoln elementary schools collected more than 1,100 pounds.

“I can’t say enough for the kids,” Parker said. “They just  step up. These kids are fierce. They have helped the food bank so much. I’m so proud of the volunteers we have. They’re the ones who make this whole thing [the food bank] tick.”

Parker added that in addition to helping needy families, many with children, the local food bank also serves senior citizens.

“The food bank’s mission is to dispense food and provide a ‘leg up’ for those who need it,” Parker explained. “The food bank is a 501(c)(3) organization and all cash donations are tax deductible.”

Parker said the first Sunday of each month is designated as Food Bank Sunday in many Miles City churches. This is a good time for people to drop off items for the food bank when they attend worship services. The churches will see that the items are delivered to the food bank.  

Those who would like to make donations of non-perishable food items such as canned fruit or vegetables, boxed potatoes, stuffing mix or other packaged food products; or monetary donations may drop them at or mail them to the Custer County Food Bank, 210 S. Winchester Ave., Miles City, MT 59301. Food bank hours are from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, except holidays.

“Things are slowing down at the food bank, but hunger never slows,” Parker said.

Those needing more information about the local food bank and its activities or wishing to volunteer their time may call 234-3663.