MSU wins Can the Griz food drive, donates record amount of food

Montana State University and the Bozeman community rallied for a win in the 19th annual Can the Griz food drive, with supporters donating a record of the equivalent of 448,720 pounds of food to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.
Can the Griz and the corresponding Can the Cats food drive in Missoula is an off-field competition between MSU and the University of Montana to see which school can collect the most donations for its local county food bank.
This year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 263,263 pounds of food and $185,457 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, according to Laurynn Olson of the MSU Office of Student Engagement, which coordinates Can the Griz. The Can the Cats food drive in Missoula brought in 211,811 pounds of food and $193,086 for the Missoula Food Bank, for a total of the equivalent of 404,897 pounds of food, Olson said.

She added that both communities surpassed last year's totals, which were also record amounts: Last year, MSU and the Bozeman community donated 257,336 pounds of food plus approximately $131,757 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, while donations from UM and the Missoula community in 2017 totaled 255,070 pounds of food plus approximately $139,008. 

Bozeman and the MSU community have won the competition for 16 out of the 19 years it has been held, Olson said.
"The Gallatin Valley never ceases to amaze me with (its) generosity,” said Randi Maiers, community engagement program coordinator with the MSU Office of Student Engagement. “It’s truly amazing to see everyone come together and help their neighbors.”

The significant donations from the Can the Griz drive will help the Gallatin Valley Food Bank provide food for families in the community through the spring and into the summer, said Laura Stonecipher, programs coordinator at the food bank. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank is one of the HRDC Food and Nutrition Program’s initiatives. During the last fiscal year, the food bank served 1,240 households – or more than 3,000 people per month, Stonecipher said. It also helps other nonprofits serve families and individuals in the community.  

“This food will go to benefit a wide range of people,” Stonecipher said.

She noted that the food bank was “blown away” by the generosity of the community.

“We cannot express our appreciation enough to everyone that helped us out,” she said. “It’s just so humbling the way people came out to help. We need more of that.

“There are lots of issues in our world, but as long as people are looking out for each other, we’ll be OK. There are so many people looking out for each other in our valley and beyond.”