Montana State University and the Bozeman community donated a record of the equivalent of more than 260,000 pounds of food to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank as part of the 16th annual Can the Griz food drive.
Can the Griz and the corresponding Can the Cats food drive in Missoula is an off-field competition between MSU and the University of Montana to see which school can collect the most donations for its local county food bank.
This year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 194,750 pounds of food plus $65,523 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, according to Laurynn Olson in the MSU Office of Activities and Engagement, which coordinates Can the Griz.
“This is the largest Can the Griz donation to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank since the competition began 16 years ago,” Olson said. “We are so grateful to the community for supporting Can the Griz.
“The competition is about getting food on the table for people in our community,” Olson added. “The fact that we raised more this year than last year means the extra amount will go even further, which is really exciting.”
In addition, more than 115 individuals volunteered to help with the food drive this year, according to Brianna Cronin in the MSU Office of Activities and Engagement.
“Throughout the two-week drive, we worked with over 115 volunteers from campus and the community,” Cronin said. “The record number of donations and volunteers for Can the Griz shows how willing our community is to get involved.”
The University of Montana won this year’s competition with a donation of 196,406 pounds of food plus $85,227 to the Missoula Food Bank, Olson said.
Both communities surpassed last year’s totals, which were also record amounts: Last year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 171,554 pounds of food plus $74,636 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, while donations from UM and the Missoula community in 2014 totaled 121,609 pounds of food plus $78,272.
Marjorie Hennessy, director of the HRDC’s Food and Nutrition Program, said the “significant” donations from the Can the Griz drive will help the Gallatin Valley Food Bank provide food for families in the community for several months. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank is one of the HRDC Food and Nutrition Program’s initiatives.
“Can the Griz is the largest food drive that the Gallatin Valley Food Bank benefits from for the entire year. Even though we didn’t ‘win’ (the competition), we did win because we broke our record by more than 20,000 pounds. That’s a huge success. It’s a testament to the Bozeman community… people in this community come back year after year and keep giving. We’re so grateful.”
Contact: Laurynn Olson or Brianna Cronin, (406) 994-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org