Becky Taylor, of the Yellowstone AIDS Project
Becky Taylor, of the Yellowstone AIDS Project, picks up Thanksgiving meals at the Billings Food Bank for client families with help from Food Bank staff on Monday. LARRY MAYER/Gazette Staff

Workers at the Billings Food Bank were greeted Monday morning by a line of people wrapped around the building, waiting in sub-zero weather for the bank's annual Thanksgiving Day food boxes.

The food bank at 2112 4th Avenue North began giving out the boxes Monday at 9 a.m. and will continue distributing them until Wednesday.

"There aren't a whole lot of questions asked," said Sheryle Shandy, the food bank's executive director.

The Billings Food Bank has supplies on hand to help those who may not have enough to put together a holiday meal. Shandy said the economic distress that has roiled the country for the past few years is making its way to Billings.

"In Montana, some of them are now just feeling it," she said. "Some folks aren't going to just bounce back."

In the boxes, the bank has packed canned fruits and vegetables, fresh vegetables like onions, potatoes and salad, apples, cranberries, macaroni and cheese, fresh cheese, milk, butter, bread and a turkey.

Many who come in are grateful for the help and express their appreciation, Shandy said. Others aren't quite as gracious. But Shandy doesn't fault them.

"When you're in that situation you find little to be grateful for," she said. "They're not in a happy place."

Still, the bank is there to help and that's what they try to do, she said.

On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, the bank will hold an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 12:30 p.m. to celebrate the new facility on Fourth Avenue built last year. Following the ribbon-cutting, the bank will host a community Thanksgiving meal at 1 p.m. for those in need.

Shandy said she and staff members at the food bank have much to be thankful for. With the new building — built through community support — the food bank has been able to consolidate all its services into one location.

"This community is absolutely amazing," she said. "I just don't think we can say thank you enough."

 

 

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

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Health care reporter for the Billings Gazette.