NewsGreat Falls News


Great Falls Community Food Bank prepared for government shutdown

Posted at 5:49 PM, Sep 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-02 17:25:10-04

GREAT FALLS — A national government shutdown in Washington, D.C. could affect things in Great Falls more than you would expect. The Great Falls Community Food Bank, though not funded by the government, could have supply issues if the shutdown lasts long enough. It is not an instant issue but could snowball over time.

 “You know, eventually it's going to start harming people all around the entire country, including Great Falls,” Shaun Tatarka, Executive Director of the Great Falls Community Food Bank said, “We have plenty of federal workers here in the town. And if they're not getting paid, eventually they're going to end up, you know, going to end up at the pantries. And it's going to affect really all of the pantries and the foodbank greatly.”

 Tatarka keeps the food bank running smoothly, making sure all 70 plus donation centers are stocked with food.

 “In the war on hunger, we supply the weapons, we’re not on the front lines,” Tatarka said.

 According to Tatarka, the concern related to the shutdown comes from the unknown. While a shutdown that lasts a week or so would not really affect the food bank, a multi-month shut down could cause government workers to start showing up at the food banks.

 “With anything, you just don't how long it's going to last,” Tatarka said, “Something that would last--say the government shutdown would last for two months--We probably could handle it here. You know, it would be a stress on our system and a stress on all the pantries, but we could probably handle that. Beyond that, you know, then it’s kind of anybody’s guess.”

 The Great Falls Community Food Bank has been running since 1988. Apart from the COVID-19 Pandemic, it has never received government funding.

 “We're funded by individuals and companies, and we've been running strong for 35 years,” Tatarka said, “We're pretty financially sound right now, thanks to the extreme generosity of the people of Cascade County. And we're really fortunate to live in this area.”

 There are ways to contribute to the Great Falls Community Food Bank. You can drop of food donations, or you can donate money, which will help them pay for affordable food at bulk prices.

 “We know that we can get better deals on food than most people can buy in grocery stores because we buy in bulk and things like that,” Tatarka said, “And we turn around and, you know, give it to the agencies for either free or for an extremely reduced rate.”

 If you want to learn more about the Great Falls Community Food Bank, click here: