Beaverhead Food Pantry visits increase 50%

J.P. Plutt
Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The U.S. economy has taken a turn for the worse over the past several months as inflation has hit a 40-year high and gas prices have soared over $4 a gallon. Money is tight for families, retirees and the bulk of Beaverhead County residents.

According to Beaverhead Community Food Pantry volunteer Dawn Brown, the number of households utilizing the pantry has increased by about 50% since COVID hit and the economy went south. Brown has taken the tickets at the pantry on Wednesdays every week to track the usage and she says the facility is serving more households on a consistent basis.

Brown says that prior to COVID, a high count would be 70 households. Generally the numbers would fall between 56 and 60 households.

“When COVID started in March of 2020 or so, the numbers did go up a little bit,” said Brown. “This year, with the prices of food going through the roof, in every single week in April we had over 93 households and our average was about 95. We kind of counted on it with the price of food, and then the price of gas is raising the price of everything.”

Financially, the Beaverhead Community Food Pantry is in good shape according to Brown. At least for now.

Tara VanDeveer, the Stanford coach who gave the UMW Commencement Address on Saturday, held an event that benefited the pantry after graduation.

“One thing I really feel strong about is giving back to the community,” said VanDeveer. “As an example, when I broke the record for 1,099 wins, I donated $10 for each win, so I gave $11,000 to the local food bank in my hometown. I also encourage our fans to donate for the record. Especially for families that are struggling, I think it behooves us to be generous.”

If you would like to help the Beaverhead Community Food Bank you can this Saturday with donations that will be picked up and delivered through the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Letter Carriers from the US Postal Service along with MYCA cadets will collect non-perishable food items from mail boxes and porches and delivering the items to the pantry. Items can also be dropped in the lobby of the Post Office through noon on Saturday.