MISSOULA, Mont. - After the Missoula Food Bank served one in six people in Missoula County last year, the organization is now looking for volunteers to keep up with the need ahead of its busiest time of year.
The food bank is looking for about 40 regularly scheduled volunteers as well as to fill a roster of substitutes ahead of flu season and the holidays.
The need comes after the food bank reopened its doors to the public earlier this summer.
It changed operations at the beginning of the pandemic that ended up reducing the number of volunteers.
After transitioning back, some volunteers didn't return. Now people are needed to help deliver, stock shelves, sort produce and help with kid programs.
Caitlyn Taix, the service team manager, explained it's important to have enough people to avoid volunteer burnout.
"Honestly, a lot of people have still been here almost everyday just filling in the many gaps," Taix said. "We really just want to keep our volunteers happy and healthy and don't want to burn anyone out and don't want to lose anyone for just being overworked and getting tired of the work."
The substitutes also play a big role as the pandemic isn't going away.
The manager said every week someone is out because of COVID-19 symptoms or to get tested, so now there's a bigger need for a deeper pool of subs to make sure there's enough back up to fill in gaps.
Taix emphasized the food bank made it work throughout part of the pandemic with just staff and will continue to make it work with the volunteers they have.
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