Grocery Stores to the Rescue

Jan 2021

When grocery shopping, do you ever wonder how items get to the stores or what happens to products not ultimately sold? At Helena Food Share, the food we share comes from a variety of sources, and our local stores play an especially important role.

Before last spring, the Helena community provided food through multiple food drives. Then, and more importantly today, your financial donations to Helena Food Share are used to purchase food items through a wide range of outlets. Food providers include local retail and wholesale outlets, Montana farmers and gardeners, the Montana Food Bank Network (both purchased and donated items), and donated commodities from the federal government. All of this accounts for approximately 60 percent of the food distributed through Helena Food Share programs.

The biggest single source, nearly 40 percent, is food donated from over a dozen businesses in the Helena area through Helena Food Share’s Grocery Rescue program. Each location donates various products to Helena Food Share because they know of the need in our community. So when they have excess, they gladly share with us. While it may be food that won’t be sold, it’s still good food.

Each day that Helena Food Share is open, grocery rescue staff and volunteers arrive early at the pantry, grab a cup of coffee, jump into a delivery truck and begin making the rounds of collecting food at 17 local stores.

On a typical morning, Dave and Leroy or Steve and Joe, head out to stores across the valley to gather items that will soon become available later that day for customers at one of our pantries. About an hour and a half into the morning and after stopping by 5-6 stores, the truck, filled with bakery goods, fruits and vegetables, milk, deli items, and assorted canned foods, heads back to the pantry where the drivers unload the truck. The crew then completes their rounds of all the other stores before calling it a morning.

This Grocery Rescue program is a critical part of being able to provide food to our neighbors in need. It is also an important part of our community’s food cycle, ensuring it gets to those in need of food rather than becoming waste in our landfills.

Thank You to Grocery Rescue Partners!

  • Albertsons
  • Bagel Company
  • Big Lots
  • Bimbo Bakeries USA
  • Bob’s Valley Market
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Great Harvest Bread Co.
  • Heritage Food Store
  • Natural Grocers
  • Real Food Market & Deli
  • Safeway
  • Super 1 Foods
  • Target Van’s Thriftway
  • Walmart
  • Wheat Montana Bakery & Deli
  • WinCo Foods

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