Holiday Giving Get-Togethers


“If you can’t feed one hundred people, then just feed one.” – Mother Teresa

I know it is cliché to lead with an inspiration quote, especially from someone as oft-quoted as Mother Teresa. But as we enter into yet another challenging fall and winter season, I think that the Mother beautifully sums an equally beautiful trend that we are seeing throughout our community: Our neighbors are coming together to give what they can.

Every dollar, every can of food, every hour donated to Missoula Food Bank makes a direct difference in the life of someone in our community without enough to eat. It’s that simple, and it’s that profound.

And, in a season when we are coming together as friends and neighbors to share our time, it is only natural to think of those less fortunate, without a meal to share, without a hearth to gather ’round. So in this season of dinner parties and gift exchanges, here are a few fun and engaging ideas on how you can make a big difference with what we call, “Giving Get-Togethers.”

Souper Bowl Parties!

In the thick of the football season, game day get-togethers are a great opportunity to huddle around the TV with some chili or nachos and tally your fantasy team’s points while making “well-intended” remarks about your friends’ favorite teams. The inevitable, “What can I bring?” will come up while inviting your guests. And instead of another bag of chips (or in addition), you might say, “Bring a can or two of soup for the food bank!”

Missoula Food Bank is open from 8am-6:30pm on Mondays and Tuesdays for drop-offs after a Sunday or Monday night pig-skin party!

Stocking Stuffings

Fun and heart-warming donations that we receive during this season include stockings stuffed with goodies for kids that would otherwise have no sock to pillage on Christmas morning. Instead of (or in addition to) a white-elephant gift exchange, ask your guests to bring a few stocking stuffers to your holiday get-together!

These stocking stuffers can be fun, educational toys, healthy snacks like raisins and nuts, cool school supplies, journals, or other compact, thoughtful gifts. Groups have a great time sorting the different stuffers into age and gender groups, and creating a really special collection of stockings to donate to kids living in poverty in our community.

If not stockings, holiday get-togethers are a great opportunity for a mini-food drive. Instead of having 3 green-bean casseroles, bring a can a of beans and mushroom soup to donate!

These are just a few ideas that our volunteers have brought to us to share. There are so many ways that we can come together as a community to give a little – and change a lot in the lives of our neighbors.

Do you have a holiday food-giving tradition? Please share it in the comments!


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.

Learn more about the behind-the-scenes works of the Missoula Food Bank in Jessica’s post There Is No Spoon.


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.