Bigfork Food Bank sees uptick in use, while increasing its outreach

Kathy Kaestner, executive director of Bigfork Food Bank, said she wakes up at night thinking of different ways to reach all those in need within her community.

“We’re actually looking at the hours now and may extend the hours a bit just because we’re bringing in more people.” We can’t afford gas, we’re just seeing more new customers coming in.”

The organization feeds 300 families each month, but Kaestner said he never fears food shortages. The generosity of the community knows no bounds, she says. If they’re missing something (such as Thanksgiving stuffing), I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone thought of it. .

“This community is so great. If they need us, we’ll find a way to feed them all. We want them here,” said Keetner. “Even if the parcel box is already checked, they come here without checking it and find it full later. People just go grocery shopping and they drop things here. ”

A food bank is a large grocery store-like space with shelves full of canned goods, dry goods, fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy products. Patrons can browse and shop for themselves and their families as they would in a regular store, and volunteers weigh food as they leave.

Kaestner said her job as executive director includes interacting with the public and coordinating 50 volunteers. Kaestner, who is also a volunteer herself, said in early 2022 she learned a lot from Ann Tucker, a longtime veteran of Bigfork Food Bank.

She said their business was “already going well” but needed a little more organization from a leadership standpoint.

“Once you have it set up, it’s really nice to see everyone doing a great job. They’re all volunteers, including me, especially considering they don’t have to, but it’s in your blood.” And you just want this to work… The community is great.With government funding, Bigfork will support this food bank,” Kaestner said.

With community support, we were recently able to purchase the walk-in coolers we needed to store many refrigerated items that were previously stored in some grocery store coolers.

The next project they’re looking at is a refrigerated van, she said. On Friday, food banks will participate in a “grocery rescue” with local grocers who donate food past its expiration date. This doesn’t mean the food is bad, but otherwise it will be thrown away.

Kaestner said Bigfork Food Bank has partnered with Lakeside Food Bank, which has a refrigerated truck that picks up food from grocery stores.

“The most important thing right now is the van. monetary donations are probably just as important as food donations,” Kettner said.

Food banks produced brochures outlining their services and distributed them to nearby schools. About the food bank service that distributes to the students of a nearby school.

Kaestner said the pamphlet aims to reach as many people as possible who can benefit from using food banks.

“When I talk to teachers in schools, they know which kids are starved for food. See this, they can shop and no judgment, we’re here for them.

The Big Fork Food Bank is generally open on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The food bank is closed on the 5th Tuesday of the month. For more information, visit

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