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Big Sky food bank expands services as demand rises

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PHOTO BY TYLER ALLEN

December 2021 busiest month on record

EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – The Big Sky Community Food Bank is responding to record demand with new services to assist customers beyond the pantry.

In December of 2021, the food bank served 211 emergency food boxes and assisted more than 400 individuals, setting a new service record. The organization’s previous monthly high was 209 emergency boxes during the early days of the pandemic in April of 2020.

The food bank is projected to have at least a 5 percent increase in services on average this year, according to Sarah Gaither Bivins, Big Sky Community Food Bank operations manager.

As demand rises, the food bank set up a Resource Center which includes a computer lab, an expanded coatroom, a fix-it center and laundry services.

Gaither Bivins said the food bank has partnered with other Big Sky and Gallatin Valley nonprofits to address additional resources in 2022, such as healthcare enrollment assistance; support with enrolling in SNAP benefits; Volunteer Tax Assistance; the HealthCare Connections Bus; and referrals for mental and behavioral health support with partner agencies.

“We’re so very happy for all the support of the Big Sky Community,” Gaither Bivins wrote in a statement to EBS. “Thanks to generous donors, volunteers and partners we’re able to meet the increased needs that our workforce is facing. We’re encouraging the Big Sky workforce to utilize the food bank and our new resource center to mitigate financial stresses, as a strategy to increase household savings and security.”

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