School lunch program

HELENA - Eleven organizations throughout Montana are receiving an allocated grant fund totaling over $200,000 for their continued efforts feeding children in their community amid COVID-19.

Gov. Steve Bullock and First Lady Bullock, along with Montana No Kid Hungry, made the announcement Friday in a release from The Governor's Office.

The following organizations will receive the funding:

  • Dutton Brady School – $5,000
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Flathead – $60,000
  • Polson School District – $25,000
  • Lewistown Public Schools – $10,000
  • Hardin Public Schools – $28,000
  • Chippewa Cree Tribe, Rocky Boy Reservation – $10,000
  • Plentywood Public Schools – $7,000
  • St. Regis School District – $40,000
  • Libby School District – $20,000
  • St. Labre Public Schools – $7,500

Since the pandemic began, the total No Kid Hungry funding for Montana increased to $555,150.

“Communities have truly stepped up to take care of each other over the past several months,” Governor Bullock said in the release. “Schools, businesses and community organizations are going above and beyond to meet needs during a time of uncertainty, highlighting our resiliency and culture of caring as a state.”

“Food security is critical for the physical and emotional well-being of Montana’s students,” said First Lady Lisa Bullock in the release. “We are grateful to Montana No Kid Hungry and our schools and community leaders for partnering with us to take that weight off of parents’ shoulders, while ensuring our students have their nutritional needs met.”

The Governor's Office's release says Hardin Public School will be spending the  funds on meal delivery transportation expenses for their feeding program. 

“Access to food in southeast Montana is challenging,” explains Hardin Director of School Nutrition, Patrice O’Loughlin. “The school buses we are using to deliver meals drive through each small community honking the horn like an ice cream truck and the kids come running to pick up food. Recently a young child came to the curbside service and handed us a handmade card in the shape of a heart. Inside the card they wrote ‘thank you for feeding us’ and taped three pennies. It’s moments like these that make our work so meaningful and reassure us that we are helping families to meet one of their most basic needs.”

Plentywood Public Schools is spending their portion on providing higher labor costs regarding offering emergency meals to families, buying more refrigeration units and buying more food delivery materials, as stated in the Governor's Office's release. Plentywood Public Schools is also spending half their funding to expand their Breakfast After the Bell program in the fall.

“We are a very rural community and don’t always have the same infrastructure and resources to support food security like more populated areas,” explains Plentywood Schools Superintendent, Rob Pedersen.  “As a district we are proud to support the holistic needs of our kids, because academic success starts with happy, healthy families. This grant has made it possible for us to take a leading role in supporting families in our community.”

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