By EMILY SCHABACKER/ Montana State News

Gallatin Valley Food Bank serves 3,105 individuals a month including families, kids, single parents, and seniors; but with the upcoming summer season, Laura  Stonecipher, program coordinator at the food bank, expects an increase in clients. Despite this increase, the food bank is experiencing a decrease in donations.

On average, Gallatin Valley Food Bank serves 1,200 households every month, according to Stonecipher.

Stonecipher said, “the majority of our clients do not come regularly…. Think about your budget and everything lines up, but then your car breaks down or you have a medical bill…. then you need to divert money that you might spend on groceries to pay for those bills.”

The food bank also supports Bozeman’s seniors with their Senior Commodity Program, according to Mariah Smith, administrative officer at the bank.

“Clients have to be over 60 years old and there are some income limits as it is a government funded program. It is an extra two bags of food plus cereal and shelf stable milk. That’s once a month for our seniors,” said Stonecipher.

Of the 37,000 people that live in Bozeman, 20.1 percent of the population live below the poverty line, which is 14.7 percent higher than the national average, according to Data USA: Bozeman, MT.

A majority of that percentage is made up of men and women between the ages of 18 and 25, according to the Census Bureau.

The spring for Food drive, which took place on April 1, raised 15,000 pounds of food for Bozeman residences, according to Stonecipher.

Donations make a difference and the Bozeman community needs your help to keep food on their tables. Participate in the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on May 13 from 8am to 5pm.

If you wish to participate, place non perishable food items in your mailbox before your mail carrier arrives at your residence. Mail carriers will then collect and deliver the items to the food bank.

– edited by Michelle Burger

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