BOZEMAN -- Montana State University and the Bozeman community rallied for a win in the 17th annual Can the Griz food drive, with supporters donating a record of the equivalent of more than of 327,150 pounds of food to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.
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 234,486 pounds of food and $92,688 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, according to Laurynn Olson of the MSU Office of Student Engagement, which coordinates Can the Griz. The Can the Cats food drive in Missoula brought in 177,876 pounds of food and $139,606 for the Missoula Food Bank, Olson said. She added that both communities surpassed last year’s totals, which were also record amounts: Last year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 194,750 pounds of food plus approximately $65,500 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, while donations from UM and the Missoula community in 2015 totaled 196,406 pounds of food plus approximately $85,227.
Bozeman and the MSU community have won the competition for 15 out of the 17 years it has been held, Olson said.
“The generosity of both Bozeman and the MSU community throughout Can the Griz has been absolutely incredible,” said Brianna Cronin, community engagement programs coordinator with the MSU Office of Student Engagement. “This year's event far exceeded any expectations we had when we started. With record donations for not only the Gallatin Valley Food Bank but also the Missoula Food Bank, there really are no losers. So many families in our communities will be fed due to the willingness and enthusiasm of people to step up and be a part of something so much bigger than just one community or the other.”
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 until at least next March, perhaps even April. 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,” Hennessy said. “This year, we broke our previous record by nearly 67,000 pounds in total. That’s a huge success, but it’s also a testament to Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley. People here are happy to take care of their own. They come in with big smiles on their faces because giving feels good, whether it’s an entire pallet of soup or a single can. The big donations get a lot of attention, obviously, but every donation matters to those in need. And, that is why we do this.”
Contact: Brianna Cronin, Office of Student Engagement, (406) 994-7475 or firstname.lastname@example.org