Family Services in Billings hosted a food distribution in Joliet on Thursday, where they brought 18,000 pounds of food to distribute to families in the community.
Family Services staff and volunteers started the day at 11 a.m., unloading their recently acquired trucks capable of transporting the large amount of food from the distribution center in Billings to Joliet.
Volunteers arranged the various food items for vehicles to drive up and have their food boxes loaded.
“We bring out produce frozen food, we bring out dairy, and anything else that we have in our warehouse that we know is really going to meet the need,” said Stacy Brown, Food Services executive director.
Matt Brown, Family Services warehouse manager and the organizer of the food distributions, said that the food brought is usually provided by stores.
“We recover food from stores, and we have a generous amount of food that the stores donate to us. We always bring meat, we always bring the proteins, produce, everything that people would just love to have and enjoy having on a plate,” said Matt Brown.
The volunteers who assist with the event come from different areas in Montana. Some live in the Joliet area, but others travel to help get boxes out to those that need them. According to the volunteers, they all have the same goal in mind.
“We all need to be serving our community. During this time, food is a problem, it's something that we all need. I've had a lot of people tell me I don't need the food. Well, I always respond with, do you eat? We all eat. Serving the community is important to me, as well as it's nice to teach all these kids that it's important to serve the community,” said Shala Cullum, a volunteer for the event.
While there were over 200 people who came to receive a food box, that does not account for the individuals that had their boxes delivered to them. Many people load up on boxes to distribute to neighbors, family, and friends.
Another way that people who couldn’t make it out were able to receive a box was through the organization CART, which is a no-cost transport service for all of Carbon County. The service that started in February was at the food distribution Thursday picking up boxes to later deliver to four families in the community.
“We are delivering food boxes to our summer clients. And we had called him up and asked them if they want a box and the ones that said yes, we're collecting boxes for them,” said Karen Dietz, a CART driver.
“It's very enjoyable… Having a no-charge service available to people that may need to get to a medical appointment. It's fulfilling that way to be able to help the community,” said Jay Herman, a CART driver.
The community members that were receiving boxes to help feed their families look forward to Family Services food distributions in each community and are thankful for what they do.
“I really like this because there's no shame involved, no paperwork, all you have to do is just show up, tell them how many people you need food for and pick it up, and we always pick up extra for other people and then go distribute it,” said Bobbie Seright, a food box recipient.
Matt Brown said that there will be many more distribution events in the future, with one coming to Cody, Wyoming, in the near future. He said these events are important to each community and he wants them to spread further into more communities in and outside of Montana.
“I just want people to eat. You know, If you can save a few bucks on groceries and pay a bill, or even buy something within town from another store or something…you're still helping the community and economy,” said Brown.
For more information on the next food distribution, visit the Family Services Facebook page.