Credit union fights hunger with food drive
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For the third year running, Whitefish Credit Union, Montana’s largest credit union, has pledged to donate $1 to local food banks in need for every pound of food collected by their branches during their annual “Cash and Cans Food Drive.” The food drive began Jan. 7 and continues until Feb. 4 at all six WCU branches. A local food bank from each of the credit union’s six operating areas will receive both the food collected by Whitefish Credit Union and the credit union’s cash donations based on need.
The food banks receiving the donations are the North Valley Food Bank in Whitefish, the Columbia Falls Food Bank in Columbia Falls, the Tobacco Valley Food Bank in Eureka, the NW Montana Veteran’s Food Pantry in Kalispell, Polson’s Loaves and Fish Food Pantry, the Ronan Bread Basket and the Mission Valley Food Pantry, and the Thompson Falls donations will be divided between the Community Harvest Food Bank of Thompson Falls and the Community Services Fellowship Food Bank of Noxon.
“We’re very proud to be collecting food for our local food banks, and matching these donations with cash again this year,” said Sue Schenck, Whitefish Credit Union’s business development director. “This is our third food drive and if the past is any indication, Whitefish Credit Union will be making a great contribution, once again, toward filling those shelves, and lending a helping hand. If you’re thinking of donating, please remember the holidays are over, but hunger isn’t.”
According to the Montana Food Bank Network, the need for food banks statewide has grown in recent years. The food banks and meal programs in the state have received more than 1 million visits each year since 2010; the equivalent of needing to feed 1 million individuals annually.
“Local organizations that are involved in doing food drives and assisting the local food pantries with collecting food and money are really helping the organizations survive and meet their mission,” said Kate Devino, MFBN interim CEO. “What Whitefish Credit Union is doing to help raise awareness of the need is very critical. I think there are a lot of people who don’t realize the true need that exists in their community. In Montana, one in five children are hungry. That’s a significant number, and I don’t think people realize that. We do a lot statewide to try to help raise awareness and it’s people within the local community that are helping to educate the community members and other organizations that really make a huge difference.”
To join Whitefish Credit Union in supporting local food banks in Northwest Montana, donors can bring non-perishable food items in to any Whitefish Credit Union branch during regular operating hours.