GREAT FALLS — KRTV is following up on a story that's based on helping to feed families, as the US Department of Agriculture is putting produce in the hands of agencies including the Salvation Army of Great Falls to give away to communities.
Major Mark King of the Great Falls agency says they've hosted two of the "Farmers To Families" events so far - the first distribution took place at Holiday Village Mall, which led to long traffic lines and congestion. The venue was moved the next week to The Salvation Army facility at 1000 17th Avenue South to accommodate traffic; distribution was also downsized from 1,500 boxes to roughly 100.
The agency will continue to host smaller giveaways and partner with non-profits to distribute the remaining food boxes. Each of the boxes contains a variety of fresh produce.
King says a video call with partners on Monday finalized the decision to keep the distribution process as is, and they are finalizing the list of agencies and contact information of who will be distributing boxes or using the produce to supplement existing nutrition programs.
King says he's aware of a photo circulating social media showing unopened produce boxes by a dumpster. He says the Salvation Army is not able to control what happens to the produce once it leaves their property.
He believes agencies must work even harder to ensure food gets into the hands of the hungry. "That's sad, it really is because those could have gone to some families who are really food insecure and could use it. So that really is upsetting and we discussed that (Monday) today - I'm doing everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen and we really want to make sure that our agencies are working hard- that they're giving food to those who need it.”
This week's distribution will again be in the Salvation Army parking lot. The agency says:
- The Salvation Army will distribute to the first 150 households beginning at 2 pm Thursday, June 11th in the parking lot of our campus at 1000 17th Ave South. Please enter the parking lot from the direction of 7th Street South and exit toward 13th Street South. Vehicles will not be permitted to turn left into the parking lot. If you are able, please carpool to cut down on traffic. Vehicles will not be permitted to line up before 2 pm and walk up service is not permitted. Parking in a business parking lot/area is at your own risk.
For more information, call King at the Salvation Army in Great Falls at 406-453-0391, extension 224; you can also visit the Facebook page.
Other receiving agencies include:
St. Vincent DePaul 406-761-0870
Choteau County Food Bank 406-622-3771
Center for Mental Health 406-727-1314
Monarch/Neihart Food Bank 406-650-5667
Set Free Monana 406-453-4479
COAD (Love, Inc.) 406-629-9092
Pondera Food Pantry 406-289-0092