Aided by a team of community partners, Clearwater Credit Union has donated $25,000 to the Montana Food Bank to help needy families across the region remove food as immediate concern during the pandemic.

The member owned credit union made its contribution public during its annual member meeting on Tuesday evening.

Gwen Landquist, marketing director, said the donation will provide 31,000 meals to families in communities served by the credit union. The effort received volunteer support by a number of companies that serve the region.

“Because of the pandemic, the Food Bank couldn't use its facility, so Neptune Aviation provided the room to store supplies and assemble the meal boxes,” said Landquist. “Employees from Alaska and Horizon airlines helped assemble the packages.”

Clearwater’s donation will provide financial support for the Montana Food Bank Network's emergency assistance programs, including the Mail-A-Meal Program, which targets rural communities that frequently suffer from food insecurity.

The program enables those in need to receive a 30-pound box of non-perishable food items, which is delivered to their home.

“Giving back to the communities we serve is deeply rooted in Clearwater’s culture,” said Jack Lawson, the credit union's president and CEO. “With the ongoing public health and economic crises, resources are tighter than ever across Montana.”

A team of Clearwater staff also volunteered to assemble boxes as part of the United Way of Missoula Day of Action. Clearwater’s Board of Directors authorized the donation in response to the increased demand for food assistance brought on by COVID-19.

“MFBN is so grateful for the generous gift from Clearwater Credit Union to support our rural outreach efforts,” said Gayle Carlson, the CEO of Montana Food Bank Network. “Not only did they fund enough food boxes to provide for 31,000 meals, they sent a volunteer crew to pack the boxes for distribution.”