GREAT FALLS — With just a few weeks to Christmas, money and food can be scarce for some people. On Friday, some people with restitution and parking violations helped free themselves from fines and the community from hunger, at the Food For Fines canned food drive.
By dropping off 10 cans defendants can waive $50 worth of city fines.
Keeping with the giving spirit of the event, donor Jackie Monroe donated cans to help pay for her friend’s parking ticket.
“She needed help as shes a single grandma and gave me a call and said can you please go donate 10 cans of food as that would help me greatly. I just thought I'd help her out because she helps me out,” Monroe said.
While the fine credit helps at a financial level, it also helps at a communal one.
“It’s a really important drive for us. We really try to stock up in the month of December,” said Shaun Tatarka, Great Falls Community Food Bank Executive Director.
December’s harsh weather makes now an ideal time to fill up, according to Great Falls Community Food Bank Manager Doug Perrin.
“It’s the winter-time and people need a little more food for fattening up, as you could say: a winter coat,” Perrin said.
Tatarka says this is one of their main drives of the year, and will have to keep the community fed through the winter.
"We try to get as much as we can gather as much as we can in the months of November and December and hope that carries us through until springtime,” Tatarka said.
The food bank’s Warehouse Manager Doug Perrin says they typically go through at least 10,000 pounds of food a week, which means today’s donations will need to tip the scale.
“This is going to have to bring us through till April and roughly right now we're going in over 1000 pounds a week easily,” Perrin said.
The food bank supplied 32 collection barrels, which can hold around 300 pounds of food. If they reach full capacity, Perrin expects today’s drive will bring in between 9,000 and 10,000 pounds of food.