Looking To The Future

File photo by Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon

Introduction and History

North Valley Food Bank joins a long line of historically involved charitable groups that have existed since Whitefish’s early days.  Many of these groups designated proceeds to charity during the great depression-this long before government involvement.  Those of us growing up in the area heard stories of the Whitefish Woman’s Club running a serviceman’s canteen at the Great Northern Railway Station.  It opened in 1943 during WWII – over 140,000 customers were served in the first year on troop trains as well as regular trains. All labor and food for this canteen was donated.  After minimal expenses were paid, proceeds went to other worthy causes.  *Stump Town to Ski Town: The Story of Whitefish, MT

The first North Valley Food Bank donation came in over 30 years ago.  With no storage space for contributions, June Munski-Feenan stacked over one hundred loaves of bread beneath her Christmas tree and a snow bank in her backyard became the first cooler for milk.  After those rather rustic beginnings, the volunteers of the North Valley Food Bank have never looked back.  Their goals are simple: to help those in need and to make every donation count!  Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something.  North Valley Food Bank has, from its beginning, always been an all volunteer organization.

Collections are made from individuals, local grocery stores, Fish Wildlife and Parks, local farmers and other sources.  Food items are assembled for pick up, or delivery to those who are home-bound.  North Valley Food Bank Is ready to help with foods for someone having gluten intolerance or other special dietary requirements.  North Valley Food Bank provides humane service to the most vulnerable in our community.  These uncommon ”labors of love” are provided by a group of dedicated and passionate volunteers; some serving for decades.  Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something!

North Valley Food Bank is the only local food bank that distributes food once a week.  Our volunteers are flexible enough to assist in a food emergency that might come up outside our regular schedule.

North Valley Food Bank has been an important link in the chain of support that runs throughout our community. The area we serve encompasses Whitefish, north to the Canadian Border, east to Half Moon and south to Happy Valley.  We are very proud to work with other agencies, such as the Veterans Food Pantry in Kalispell, the Shepherd’s Hand Clinic, the Salvation Army and the Columbia Falls Community Dinners.  Our major goal is to Never Waste Food!  If we have more than we need of something, we work hard to find someone who can use it.

North Valley Food Bank remains a comprehensive response to local food, farm, garden and nutrition issues; 20% of the food in America’s food supply, goes to waste.  Our volunteers glean, repackage and distribute food to those in need; over 70% goes directly to those living in Whitefish.  The remaining is distributed to the surrounding area.  During this recession, the Flathead remains the hardest hit over other urban areas in Montana.

We are very mindful of the difficulties faced everyday; the worries about the economy and promise to approach the building of a new food bank building with care and responsibility.  As a non-profit, we plan to be very mindful of any and all community concerns. The “bones” of our building are said to have come from one of the oldest buildings in Whitefish.  New facility purpose is to create a welcoming, clean, safe, and efficient workspace for client families and our volunteers.

We pledge to be frugal in selecting materials and finishes; use local labor whenever possible, while building a facility that the Whitefish community can be proud of.