Community Members Have Two Ways to Give in February to Help Those Facing Food Insecurity
Tuesday Feb. 6th, 2024
One in 8 elementary school students faces hunger in our community. HRDC’s Gallatin Valley Food Bank works with the Bozeman Schools Foundation each February to help raise awareness of childhood food insecurity. Donations to the annual Pack the Sack fundraising event provide local students who might otherwise go hungry with 5 healthy meals and snacks for the weekend.
HRDC’s staff and volunteers pack bags of groceries for approximately 725 elementary students each week. This program, known as KidsPack, distributed over 7,892 bags of food during the first semester of the school year which is a 66% increase over the previous school year. In addition, donated funds are used to stock middle and high school food pantries to help ensure no one goes to bed hungry.
“We want everyone in our community to know the need to provide nutritional support to our area’s youth has grown exponentially. A donation of $7.00 covers the cost of 1 KidsPack Bag that includes 3 healthy meals and snacks for a child over the weekend. Anyone interested in donating can easily do so on the Bozeman Schools Foundation’s website. Last year, the Foundation raised over $25,000 for KidsPack which went a long way in helping us help our neighbors in need and we are very hopeful the community will step up in a similar way again this year,” said Jill Holder, HRDC’s food and nutrition director.
The community at large is also experiencing food insecurity at greater numbers than ever before. Over the past twelve years, HRDC’s Fork & Spoon restaurant has worked to ensure all community members have a warm meal to eat. Today, the significant rise in food costs has placed additional pressure on household budgets making the restaurant’s pay-what-you-can model a solid option that can be used to stretch incomes. HRDC is seeking the community’s participation in our 10 in 10 fundraiser, raising $10,000 over the course of 10 weeks to help meet the increase in demand at Fork & Spoon. To encourage donor participation, an anonymous donor has generously offered to match every dollar raised up to $10,000.
Supporters of HRDC and Fork & Spoon realize the direct impact their giving has on others in the community. Fork & Spoon’s service model depends on the community to pay it forward by paying for a meal if you can, using catering, space rental and take and bake services.
Fork & Spoon operates as a social enterprise in several ways. The pay-what-you-can model generates a nightly income from patrons who are able to pay, which in turn offsets the cost of diners who are only able to make a partial contribution, or in some cases, no contribution toward their meal. Additional revenue is generated through the restaurant’s catering and take-and-bake programs which offer a wide variety of delicious, scratch-made meals. When not in use during Fork & Spoon’s business hours, the dining room space is rented to groups for meetings and events while the kitchen space is rented to small entrepreneurial food-related businesses. All generated income is directly reinvested back into Fork & Spoon operations.
Holder is grateful both KidsPack and Fork & Spoon have been able to make tangible differences in the lives of community members who are struggling to put food on the table. “Our community has been so supportive when it comes to ensuring everyone has access to food. These two programs tend to reach our most vulnerable populations which are children and seniors. It is our creative approach to provide much needed food in a dignified manner. We hope the fundraisers will generate income and interest so we can continue this vital work.”
Fork & Spoon is open for dinner Monday through Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Nightly dinners can be prepared as take-out orders, and fresh-frozen meals are also available for pick-during these times as well.
More information about HRDC’s KidsPack program can be found here and Fork & Spoon restaurant can be found at here.
For all other HRDC programs or services, visit thehrdc.org