People of the Pov: Food Edition

Newsletter Contents

Staff Spotlight: Ty, Food Rescue Truck Driver

The chilled air gnaws my skin as I take the first step out of my car. I sigh, realizing that winter is clawing closer each day and 7:15am is now a very dark time. How does he do this every morning?

I’m here to, in a way, visit an old friend – the Poverello Center Food Rescue Truck – and hear more from its relatively new driver, Ty Grimmett. Ty has been driving the truck since December 2020, but this is my first time in the vehicle since 2015. This truck picks up tens of thousands of dollars worth of food for the Pov each year, so there’s a sense of novelty to the ride.

Before we can even begin the drive, there is work to do. Dumpsters are put outside the courtyard every morning at 4am to be picked up by Republic Services. Now, at 7:20, they have been emptied and need to be returned.

Cleared of waste and debris, they are easier to move than they were hours ago when night shift hauled them out, but it is still early, still cold, and still feels like a lot of work. Ty takes lead pushing them uphill into the courtyard, barely bothered by the lift that begins his day.

As the sky begins to lighten slightly, we take off in the box truck. The first thing you notice when riding with Ty is his rapport with Poverello Center grocery store partners. As we load up bread and meat donated by Fresh Market, he explains how he used to work here when it was a Safeway. He checks in on staff members and wishes them well as we drive off. At Orange Street Food Farm, as we load produce, he checks in and jokes with Fern, our contact at the store.

“It’s tough to complain,” he tells me as I sip on the coffee he bought me. “Direct Care staff members have really tough days dealing with folks in crisis, so compared to that, my tough days aren’t that big of a deal at all, really.”

He admits last winter was difficult with the heat in the Truck, a 20 ft refrigerated box truck used to collect food every morning, broken, but with a working heater now, he expects this Winter to be better.

“This job really opened my eyes to how easily people can fall through the cracks, but the work is super rewarding and I’m happy to do it everyday. It’s great to get to work with local businesses to find a way to limit food waste and feed a lot of people. We try not to even buy very much food at all with how much the grocery stores donate to us.”

The Food Rescue program saves thousands of pounds of food each month that is approaching its expiration date by using the still-good food to feed people in need 365 days a year.

Ty goes to as many as nine partner locations each day, including a variety of grocery stores and restaurants around Missoula. The Food Rescue Truck collects more than 13,000 pounds of food each week to be cooked and served in the Poverello Center kitchen. The Poverello Center kitchen uses this food to creatively put together two hot meals each day of the year, supply sack lunch materials, and stock the Food Pantry with donated, shelf-stable goods. The kitchen serves 400 to 600 meals each day, every day of the year.

As Ty assists my clumsy waltz with two shopping carts back to the loading dock of the South Russell Albertsons, he explains to me that some donations are more highly regarded than others.

“Coffee is very important to pick up, so we’re lucky to receive donations from Craven’s. The Food Bank is also a great partner that usually has anything we’re looking for.”

The sun has ascended and light dances through the branches as we make our first drop off at Valor House. What was a long, tiring morning to me is just another day on the job for Ty. A job he does with compassion, skill, kindness and gratitude. It is clear that Ty embodies the Mission of the Pov, as his work directly helps us provide food, shelter, help and hope to all who ask.

“We are incredibly lucky to have Ty as the Food Rescue Truck Driver,” Kitchen Manager Jared Bell said.

The work done in the Poverello Center kitchen is made possible by Ty’s work picking up food around town. By making the rounds, weighing each item, and delivering goods, the Food Rescue program is one major way the Pov provides food to anyone who needs it.

A Letter from Jill

Fall has arrived and so has the Poverello Center’s busiest time of year. As the Emergency Winter Shelter opens and the holiday season approaches, Pov staff are working hard to  continue  providing food, shelter, help and hope to all who ask, especially now during our coldest months of the year.

Since be ginning my role as Executive Director in July, we have had to get creative in finding ways to continue delivering services to as many people as possible, as safely as possible. Of course, the pandemic has drastically changed how we provide services to individuals in need since it began and we will continue to need to adapt our strategy in the pandemic’s second year. 

The other night, we had to turn away 26 individuals seeking shelter because of our limited building capacity due to social distancing protocols. Before the pandemic, those people would be guaranteed a place to sleep safely inside. It makes me deeply sad to think about, especially with the increasingly cold nighttime temperatures, and this is just one aspect the Poverello Center leadership is considering when we strategically plan for the organization’s future in this complicated new reality. 

The shift in service delivery has been hard. It’s hard on the Pov staff, guests, partners and neighbors, and I sometimes can’t help but think about how things would be different, if the circumstances surrounding the pandemic were not as they are.

Despite the inevitable “what if’s,” I can say with confidence that we are currently working hard to increase the long-term capacity of services at the Poverello Center. While the entire staff is doing everything we can to continue providing services to as many people as possible, as safely as possible, I look forward to being able to share some of these organizational-level efforts in the coming months These efforts will make a lasting impact on the capacity of our service delivery for people experiencing homelessness in the Missoula community.

Please consider supporting the Poverello Center during this time by checking out our website, where you can find information on volunteer opportunities, donating supplies and funds, and so much more. 

As always, I am extremely grateful for your continuous support  of providing food, shelter, help and hope to all who ask. Thank you.

Pumpkins With Purpose

Just north of town, Eric Gibson-Snider farms for the better half of the year growing pumpkins. These pumpkins are donated to the Poverello Center and stock our supply of pumpkins for our October fundraiser, Pumpkins for the Pov, a month-long event that raises money for our Food Programs.

Pumpkins for the Pov’s fifth year has been the biggest yet. On September 26th, more than 40 volunteers helped Poverello staff harvest about 3,500 locally grown, organic pumpkins. With more sophisticated operations than ever before, the Pov has partnered with Missoula Works and continued working closely with Blackfoot Communications, a long-time sponsor of the fundraiser.

Over the course of October, pumpkins were sold at sales locations throughout Missoula, including the Good Food Store, Parkside Credit Union offices, the Trough, Imagine Nation Brewing Company, Rattlesnake Market and YMCA Missoula.

The Pov also partnered with Townsquare Media and the Sunrise Saloon to host a Pumpkins for the Pov Pop-up Party, which donated another pumpkin for each pumpkin sold to the children’s shelters around town and the Missoula Food Bank.

Thank you to the Pumpkins for the Pov sponsors who make this event possible: Blackfoot Communications, Parkside Credit Union, Wendy’s of Montana, Townsquare Media Missoula, TownPump, BlueCross BlueShield of Montana, Republic Services, MMW Architects, Northwestern Energy, and PacificSource Health Plans.

Volunteer Spotlight: Celebratory Meals

One of the first things that happen every morning at the Poverello Center is the breakfast meal service. All of the guests are woken up, get ready for the day and head to the dining room for a grab-and-go style breakfast complete with pastries, breads, cereals, fruits, milk and coffee. As people head out and leave the building for the day, the real work begins in the kitchen.

Kitchen staff, along with resident and community volunteers, begin the enormous task of cooking enough food for more than 300 meals to be served throughout the day. Various dishes such as chili, pork barbeque sandwiches, fruit salad, spaghetti and cheesy potatoes are served every single day of the year. There are only two paid kitchen staff, and the rest of the work done is by volunteers.

Around mid-day, the building opens back up for lunch. Many residents, along with various community members, all line up to get a plate. It’s a pretty busy time of the day but meal servers work hard to get everyone served efficiently. Even after the meal is over, the kitchen and volunteers are busy once again unloading, sorting and stocking all of the food that comes in on the grocery rescue truck. The Pov’s Food Rescue Truck provides the bulk of food served in the kitchen, collecting about 1,300 pounds of unsellable but safely edible items from partnering sites around town.

 

In the evening, the dinner service starts off the nightly activities, which end with residents getting checked in to stay the night. Providing food to anyone who asks is part of the Poverello Center’s mission. This is made possible with the help of community volunteers who help out in the kitchen doing everything from meal preparation and shelf stocking to serving food.

Food programs volunteering opportunities are available throughout the day, every day of the week, including holidays! Anyone wanting to learn more about volunteering is invited to make an account on the volunteer portal. Sign ups for both Thanksgiving and Christmas will be available there as well. There is a lot of work to be done both the week leading up to and day of the holiday!

Please feel free to contact the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Georgia Mudd, gmudd@thepoverellocenter.org with any questions.

Planned Giving: IRA Charitable Rollover

Are you a Poverello Center “golden years” donor who is exploring ways your gifts can make a difference in your community?

By using some of your traditional IRA funds, giving with an IRA charitable rollover may be a very effective option for you.

So how does it work?

If you are a donor aged 70½ or older (72, if you were born on or after July 1, 1949), you can request your IRA administrator to send a gift of up to $100,000 per year directly to a qualified charity like the Pov. By doing so, your gift won’t increase your taxable income for the year, and could help to meet your minimum distribution requirements.   Such a rollover gift can make it easier to use IRA assets during your lifetime to make a greater-than-imagined impact on your community.

“I have made several gift distributions from my IRA. They are easy to do – I simply reach out online to my IRA administrator. This type of giving saves me some taxes.  More importantly, I was able to benefit some of my favorite charities, including the Poverello Center.” Ed Eck, Missoula donor, said.

Please contact Jesse Jaeger, Director of Development & Advocacy, at jjaeger@thepoverellocenter.org or (406) 541-6886 or visit our website thepoverellocenter.org/donate/ for a few key details about giving through an IRA charitable rollover.

If you will be making a rollover gift or have included another type of gift in your estate plan, please let us know so that we can share our appreciation and discuss possible recognition opportunities in our new Legacy of Hope.

Thank you for working alongside us to provide food, shelter, help, and hope to our neighbors in need in Missoula County.

For more information on how you can provide a legacy gift to support your most vulnerable neighbors please contact us at 406-532-6686 or donations@thepoverellocenter.org. You can also contact the Montana Community Foundation, who manage these annuities for us, directly at 406-443-8313 or info@mtcf.org.

Poverello Center ~ 1110 W Broadway St., Missoula, MT, 59802 ~ EIN 23-7439391

Supporting the Pov: Montanans Helping Montanans

This year is the 20th anniversary of the Town Pump Foundation’s Montanans helping Montanans campaign. To celebrate the anniversary, the Foundation is matching $25,000 in donations for the Poverello Center Food Programs. 

From keeping our food pantry stocked and open to putting gas in our Food Rescue truck, support from donors allows us to provide crucial nutrition to our most vulnerable neighbors. The Town Pump Foundation is a long-term donor to the Poverello Center, providing sustained investments in the Missoula community supporting our goal of eliminating houselessness and hunger. 

“For 20 years Town Pump has worked closely with groups across Montana to alleviate hunger in our state. Our partnership with the Poverello Center ensures nutritious meals are available to those in need in Missoula County,” Town Pump Charitable Foundation Director Bill McGladdery said. 

The Poverello Center Food Programs provides hot meals, sack lunches, and food pantry goods to anyone who needs them. This resource not only provides sustenance for people experiencing houselessness, it also serves as a resource for working folks to stay housed in our community. 

“When I think about the impact of the food pantry, I think of Anne. Last year, Anne found herself sick and unemployed during the height of the pandemic. By utilizing the pantry to supplement meals for her and her son each week, she was able to keep paying her bills and stay housed during a difficult time. Now Anne comes by the pantry less, but I know that the supportive nutrition we provided allowed Anne to maintain her housing and health,” Food & Volunteer Programs Manager Zac Mauldin said. “The food pantry keeps people like Anne’s family housed by helping them stay fed.”

A donation of $100 funds three healthy meals a day for a month. $500 provides four months worth of gas for the Food Rescue Truck, allowing the food program to collect donations from grocery stores and other partnering organizations. $1,000 will provide three months worth of maintenance repairs in the kitchen.

“We are so grateful for the support of the Town Pump Charitable Foundation in providing food, shelter, help and hope to all who ask. Our Food Programs provide a crucial resource for people experiencing hunger in Missoula, and we appreciate this investment in the community,” Executive Director Jill Bonny said.