Report Says More Montana Residents Sought Food Assistance

Montana Food Bank Network says as many as 29% of Montana residents needed food assistance from a pantry in 2020

By Associated Press

MISSOULA — New data released by the Montana Food Bank Network said more than 40% of respondents to a survey needed food assistance for the first time in their lives since the coronavirus pandemic began.

While in 2019 only 1 in every 10 Montana residents needed food assistance from a pantry in the Montana Food Bank Network, in 2020, that figure could jump at least 29%, the Missoulian reported Thursday.

“The number of people receiving food assistance for the first time after the COVID crisis was pretty astounding,” said Lorriane Burhop, the chief policy officer of the Montana Food Bank Network.

The survey conducted from June to July garnered 917 responses across 30 counties in the state.

The report said that 70% of adults lost income or were furloughed as a result of the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Burhop said that reveals how many people were making ends meet, but “the loss of just one or two paychecks all of a sudden pushes those households into crisis, and they need to turn to a local food pantry for help.”

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