Mission: To serve neighbors in need by providing food in a respectful and dignified way and working with others to eliminate hunger in the greater Helena area.
About the organization: Founded in 1987 to help provide food to Helena residents who were food insecure — today, one in seven of the city's residents and one in five of its children — Helena Food Share offers services aimed at creating a hunger-free community. To that end, the organization provides emergency food to fifteen hundred local families a month; serves nearly eleven hundred elementary school students a week through its Kid Packs program; and distributes nearly six thousand pounds of food a day to families in need. The organization works with every grocery store in Helena to rescue edible food and reduce food waste; food rescued through those partnerships accounts for 40 percent of the food on the organization's pantry shelves.
Current programs: Helena Food Share's programs include Grocery Share, a food pantry for families in need regardless of income or age; Kid Packs, which provide nutritious food over the weekend for low-income children in seventeen local schools and Head Start programs; farmers market coupons and food boxes for low-income seniors age 60 and older; and Emergency Snack Packs — special high-calorie snacks that provide immediate nutrition for individuals with immediate food needs. The organization also operates a garden where volunteers grow fresh produce for distribution at its food pantry and a Farm Stand that offers fresh produce for free to families in need during the summer months.
COVID-19 response: Since the beginning of the pandemic, Helena Food Share has been providing pre-filled, grab-and-go grocery carts for anyone who needs emergency food assistance at its pantries in Helena and East Helena. For locations and modified hours, see the organization's website.
Website: Visitors to the Helena Food Share site can learn more about accessing food assistance; look up recipes, submit their own recipies, or ask a cooking question; browse stories of impact; or sign up for one of the organization's newsletters. They also can make a donation, participate in a virtual food drive in support of Kid Packs or holiday meals for food-insecure families or start their own virtual fundraiser, and/or learn about Kid Pack Challenge sponsorship opportunities for businesses.
Funding: Helena Food Share is supported by food donations; gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations, and churches; and federal and state grants.