Editor’s note: From time to time, we invite a representative from one of Missoula’s many non-profits to write about how their organization serves our community and how our community can, in turn, support our many worthwhile non-profit organizations.
By JESSICA ALLRED
Hidden away, tucked in a corner of the parking lot behind Missoula Food Bank, a man sat, opened a container of yogurt, and hesitated. Looking over the white tub decorated by strawberries, he evaluated his options.
At Missoula Food Bank, the broad need of our clients is food. Very simply, some people in our community do not have enough to eat. For almost 30 years, Missoula Food Bank has been a resource for those people who just need a little help putting food on the table. The man in the parking lot had been laid off several months earlier; this was the first time that he had come to the food bank as a client.
He saw me passing by, but I knew he wouldn’t ask for my help. There are people in Missoula apologizing every day for not having enough food. The man had an open yogurt container and no spoon – but was too ashamed to ask for anything more than the food that he had just received at our store.
“Excuse me, but, could you use a spoon, sir?”
He smiled an embarrassed smile, and we talked for a bit. He told me that he never thought that he would be using the food bank. He told me that he had been hungry for more than a day. He told me that he was sorry that he didn’t have a spoon.
It is times like this that help me to keep my gratitude for the Missoula community at the fore of my mind. For nearly 30 years, people in Missoula have supported Missoula Food Bank as a resource for emergency food in our community. Every day, we have dedicated, talented, compassionate volunteers giving their time to stock shelves, refer resources, and box groceries for people like the man without a spoon.
After having retrieved the spoon, I invited the man inside to eat, but he was happy to be in the sunshine. I walked to my car thinking how fortunate we are as a community that this man got to need a spoon.
He needed a spoon because he had food.
Jessica Allred joined the staff of Missoula Food Bank in 2011 as their Community Relations Director. MFB is Missoula’s primary food bank, serving an average of 5,000 individuals each month. With support of Missoula donors and volunteers, MFB keeps food on the tables of our neighbors, in the backpacks of children experiencing poverty and homelessness, and on the doorsteps of home-bound seniors. We nourish community.