The Missoula Food Bank has changed its model of distributing food to local families with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Executive Director Aaron Brock said the demand has increased dramatically over the past week.

“Monday was the busiest day we’ve ever seen at the Food Bank,” said Brock. “More than 360 households came through on that single day. Some of that was by folks whose situations are changing quickly. People whose kids are not able to access school meals and people who have been laid off or whose hours have been cut.”

Brock said the food they distribute comes from a variety of sources.

“We’re able to buy in bulk from wholesalers and the supply chain has been holding up just fine,” he said. “With purchased food it’s easier for our volunteers. We have small groups of volunteers that are repackaging that food into grab-and-go bags and boxes and so purchasing uniform foods makes it easier for the small assembly line we have set up.”

Brock considered the question of how long the Food Bank could continue meeting this increasing demand if the coronavirus crisis continues for an extended period.

“The bigger questions are long-term funding, long term volunteer teams,” he said. “If this crisis lasts for a month, we’ll be fine at the Food Bank. If it lasts for four months or six months, then I think we’ll have to ask the community to support us in a different kind of way.”

According to the Missoula Food Bank website, ‘our services are intended to provide a 3 day emergency supply of food, and meant to supplement other food sources. Our services are available to you one time per calendar month for a full shop, and a second time per calendar month for a perishables-only shop.’