FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 06 2022

Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer , DPHHS, (406) 444-0936, (406) 461-3757
                 jebelt@mt.gov
                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391, (406) 461-8367
                 hcouncil@mt.gov


Gov. Gianforte, DPHHS Awards Over $150,000 to Support Food Access

Governor Greg Gianforte and Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director Adam Meier announced today that Montana No Kid Hungry (NKH) has awarded a total of $150,980 through grants to 11 local organizations across the state to support food access and nutrition projects.

“Strengthening the local food system will help improve access to healthy and local food, support Montana’s farmers and producers, and provide a boost to the economy,” Governor Gianforte said.

Montana No Kid Hungry is a public-private partnership between DPHHS and the national non-profit Share Our Strength.

Since March 2020, NKH awarded a total of over $2 million in grant funds to 58 communities across the state.

Meier said hunger is a solvable problem, but when Montana kids grow up with food insecurity, it has long-lasting effects on individual success, family stability, and the economy.

“The end goal is to help kids live happy, healthy, and successful lives where they can be self-sufficient,” Meier said. “NKH connects with communities around healthy food solutions to curb hunger today, while also cultivating systemic change alongside community leaders to end hunger for the future.”

Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center (MMFEC) received a grant in the amount of $35,920 to develop healthier food items for schools while incorporating local foods to support local farmers. 

“MMFEC is very excited to partner with No Kid Hungry on our project, developing Montana sourced value-added products for Montana schools,” said MMFEC Center Director Jan Tusik. “Through collaboration and partnership with the Montana Office of Public Instruction, MMFEC hopes to expand access to healthy, locally-grown foods for schools statewide by developing easy-to-use value-added products, like our Montana Marinara sauce. This project supports local producers, while sharing delicious local products.”

Blue Heaven Harnessing Hope with the Fort Belknap Tribal Nations received a total grant of $20,480 to build on education for local youth to learn how to plan, write, and present a Youth Agriculture Entrepreneur Project business plan to enhance local food sovereignty.

“It is essential to empower youth by passing on historic and cultural knowledge along with hands on experience, so they’re equipped to take leadership roles within Indigenous food sovereignty efforts,” said Blue Heaven Harnessing Director Toby Werk. “Tribal youth have an important role in food and agriculture efforts as they’re the ones who will carry on this work long-term.” 

Below is a full list of recent grant award recipients and amounts awarded:

  1. Blue Heaven Harnessing Hope, Ft. Belknap $20,480
  2. One Health (sites located in Hardin, Ashland, Miles City, Lewistown, Chinook, Harlem, and Glendive) $20,000
  3. Montana State University research study in Crow Nation $1,920
  4. Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes - Tribal Health $8,910
  5. Fort Peck Tribes’ Red Bird Woman Center $4,800
  6. Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center, Ronan $35,920
  7. MSU Extension, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes $7,121
  8. Big Horn Search and Rescue, Crow Agency $10,500
  9. Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation, St. Ignatius Club $15,000
  10. Montana Rescue Mission, Billings $7,500
  11. Pryor School District, Crow Nation $18,829

All NKH funds are privately raised. Grants awarded in the last grant cycle are thanks to the following generous donors: The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, Share Our Strength, The Montana Community Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MT, First Interstate Bank Foundation, Town Pump Charitable Foundation, Montana Association of REALTORS, and Walmart.

A full list of Montana No Kid Hungry grant recipients prior to this grant cycle can be found at https://state.nokidhungry.org/montana/what-we-do/grants/