Since 2008, the Food-a-Thon food drive in Bozeman has raised over 34,000 pounds of food for the Gallatin County Food Bank. Hundreds more pounds of canned goods, soups, and pastas can be added to that total.
On Friday the 13th, members of the Bozeman community were not skeptical of donating food to the Gallatin County Food Bank. They know helping to feed the hungry is an important cause. That's just one of the many reasons why Kitchen Guy Jim Gray had lent a hand volunteering at the Food-a-Thon for years.
"Food is my life. Food is my occupation," Jim Gray, also known as the Kitchen Guy, said. "But, I've become more and more aware about food insecurity in the United States, and the number of people that are going hungry or just don't have enough to eat."
Tim Trzinski is the director of the Gallatin County Food Bank. He said nearly 3-4,000 hungry people walk through the doors of the food pantry every month. That's equates to one out of every eight Gallatin County residents. He added that roughly 1,000 of those people are children.
"That number increases this time of year because families are getting ready to go back to school," Rinks said. "So, as they are looking to buy those school supplies, those back-to-school items, food for the households does get to be a bit more challenging."
Trzinski told ABC FOX Montana that he is seeing more and more people use the food bank to fill their cupboards out of necessity rather than during an emergency.
"The food bank has really transitioned from people more of an emergency food service to being part of the assistance world to just help people make it through on a monthly basis. We're hopeful that once the job market turns around fully and people are going back to work that the need for the food bank will go down just a little bit."
The Kitchen Guy said food insecurity is an issue that occurs all year long and encouraged everybody to do what they can to help feed the hungry.
"The needs at the food bank are very simple. We talk about shelf stable items, so cans of soup, a box of cereal. Every little bit helps."
This year's Food-a-Thon raised nearly 940 pounds of food for the Gallatin County Food Bank.