By Maria Wyllie
Explorebigsky.com Editorial Assistant

BIG SKY – When you donate at Moonlight Basin’s upcoming food drive, you can help support the community and ski for free.

During the sixth annual Turkey for a Ticket food drive, individuals, businesses and season pass holders can earn free lift tickets by donating a frozen turkey or 20 cans of food. The drive will be held Friday, Dec. 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Madison Village base area.

In one day, Turkey for a Ticket generates more donations than any other single event for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. Last year it raised more than 18,000 pounds of food, and organizers hope to raise at least 20,000 pounds this year.

Since the inaugural year in 2007, Turkey for a Ticket has collected a cumulative total of 77,893 pounds for the food bank, which serves the greater Gallatin Valley.

This year’s donations will be shared with the new Big Sky Community Food Bank, a satellite office of the GVFB, making it easier to serve the needs of Big Sky locals, according to Tim Trzinski, program director for GVFB.

Everyone who donates will receive a discount at the Moonlight Mercantile on the day of the event and will also be eligible to win a 2012-13 Moonlight Basin midweek season pass. The drawing will be held at Headwaters Grille at 1:30 p.m. the day of the food drive.

Non-pass holders making donations will receive a free lift ticket valid on Dec. 14 only. Moonlight Basin or Biggest Skiing in America pass holders will receive a transferable voucher redeemable for a full-day adult lift ticket valid through Jan. 31, 2013. Holiday blackout dates apply.

Moonlight and GVFB encourage employees to make donations on behalf of their workplace. Transferable vouchers will be given for every turkey or 20 pounds of food donated. Businesses must make one-time bulk donations equaling no less than 80 pounds and no more than 800 pounds to receive vouchers.

Pass holders and businesses can also donate to the food drive at Albertsons in Bozeman, from 7 to 11 a.m. on Dec. 14.