In the News

Billings Food Bank News & Press


Summer reading program provides books and backpacks for kids

from Aug 10, 2011

A sure sign that summer is coming to end: books and backpacks!

Approximately 80 kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County received one book of their choice Wednesday, plus a backpack full of school supplies.

The day was made possible by the Billings Food Bank, Fortin Foundation, and First Lady Nancy Schweitzer’s Scholastic Reading program.

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Boys and Girls Club Receives Books From Governor

from Aug 10, 2011

Gifts from the Governor and First Lady arrived in the hands of Billings kids Wednesday. Governor Brian Schweitzer and his wife donated 500 books to their summer reading program called “Forever and Ever Book.”

The Billings Food Bank hands them out. Wednesday, about 80 kids with the Boys and Girls Club got to take a book home. They also received backpacks stuffed with school supplies, provided by the Food Bank.

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Food Bank works to address local needs, plus those of statewide disaster victims

from The Billings Gazette July 24, 2011

This spring’s flooding displaced hundreds of people and increased demands on the Billings Food Bank.

As rivers bulged with rainwater and back-filled by a historical snowpack, the nonprofit agency was ready and willing to step in and assist those affected by floodwater.

“We put a lot of food out there and are still working with Roundup and Minot,” said Sheryle Shandy, executive director of the Billings Food Bank.

Shandy said the food bank always has reserves — around 2 million food items ready to be taken to locations in the 11 counties they serve.

The nonprofit stretched its coverage by assisting the heavily flooded city of Minot, N.D., after representatives from the Boise-Cascade LLC contacted the food bank.

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Billings businesses aid Minot flood victims

from Jun 28, 2011

BILLINGS – Boise Cascade of Billings and the Billings Food Bank are combining efforts to bring flood relief aid to the residents of Minot, North Dakota. More than one-third of the residents of Minot have been displaced by the historic flooding.

Boise Cascade makes shipments to and from Minot at least twice a week and decided to get involved in the flood relief effort when one of its own employees, who lives in Minot, requested the help from his company. Boise Cascade employees quickly gathered items with a fill-the-pallet drive, but decided more needed to be done. That’s when they contacted the Billings Food Bank, which was eager to get involved.

“Anytime we do this kind of relief, we either ask for volunteer drivers or we have volunteer drivers with rigs that just step up and say, ‘Yeah we’ll do this,'” explains Billings Food Bank Executive Director, Sheryle Shandy. “Since they’re already going, the contact is already there, and they know exactly what those shelters and those individuals need, it just works out great.”

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Billings Business Sends Help to Minot

from Jun 28, 2011
BILLINGS – The Billings Food Bank is working with a lumber company to help flood ravaged Minot, North Dakota. The Boise Cascade Lumber Company’s Billings office got a call from a coworker in Minot. He mentioned a need for food and the office pulled together to help. But, that see has grown into a much bigger operation. The company has not teamed up with the Billings Food Bank to transport truckloads of food and water to our neighbor to the east. And, they hope their effort is contagious. Manager Curtis Morse says, “We would hope that this ignites a fire and passion to be involved and to help out and this community is second to none in terms of their response.”

Ten pallets of water and six pallets of food made their way onto the truck this afternoon. Boise Cascade is working with teams in Minot to make sure the donations can be distributed or stored when they get there. If you’d like to help, they ask that you think of what you would need if you were living in an auditorium or church with only the clothes on your back.

Donations can be made at the Billings Food Bank and will be trucked over at least twice a week by Boise Cascade.

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“Can”struction in Billings

from April 9, 2011
Although we’re still months away from the heavy road construction season-that didn’t stop four teams of Billings residents from “can”structing sculptures out of canned food at the Billings Food Bank. Canstruction is a fundraising project which has local and national levels of competition, and for the second straight year, Billings hosted the event with the food bank as the beneficiary.

The event was organized by Rocky Mountain College Corps Leader Jill Washburn, who had two teams represent Rocky Mountain College at the event, which ran from 9a.m. to 5p.m. on Saturday.

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Canstruction gets creative to help Billings Food Bank

from The Billings Gazette April 9, 2011

Six hours into Saturday’s second annual Canstruction event, about 10 Rocky Mountain College students remained, diligently stacking and carefully placing cans. Their goal was to build a replica of Lightning McQueen, from Pixar’s animated film Cars, using between 2,500 and 4,000 cans.

“It’s been nonstop,” said Denise DeLeone, a 24-year-old business major set to graduate this year. “We’ve had to do some design changes. It’s tough because with ours, our cans are on their sides instead of stacked on their tops.” Canstruction challenges teams paired with local architects to build sculptures out of canned food for the Billings Food Bank.

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Photo story: Food Bank donation

from The Billings Gazette March 30, 2011

Sheryle Shandy, executive director of the Billings Food Bank, sits with Nick Morey, Community Committee Chairman at GE Capital on Wednesday afternoon in front of a scene including a cabin, snow banks and a bear made from more than 6,200 food items. During the month of March, GE Capital employees nationally had a food drive. The Billings office collected 6,250 food items, which will be donated to the Billings Food Bank.


Kids learn cooking at the food bank

from KTVQ March 17, 2011

Children served dinner to their families Thursday night, as part of the graduation celebration in the Kids Kitchen program at the Billings Food Bank. About 55 kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Friendship House took the 10-week course.

They showed their cooking skills and served a pasta dish and salad. The food bank chefs taught kitchen safety, cooking skills and an appreciation of different kinds of food.

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Billings Food Bank’s culinary center celebrates first graduates

from The Billings Gazette March 12, 2011

Amanda Ware and Janie Schave officially donned the white coats that chefs wear, Saturday afternoon at the Fortin Culinary Center.

The two 23-year-old Billings women are the first graduating class of the downtown culinary center, located on the second floor of the Billings Food Bank. They took part in a short graduation ceremony that drew friends and family.

Completing the course required 14 weeks of training at the center and a two-week externship to practice what they’d learned. Although 18 students started, only Ware and Schave made it all the way through, said Sheryle Shandy, executive director of the food bank.


Teams to build can sculptures to benefit Food Bank

from The Billings Gazette March 8, 2011

Five teams with five architects are ready to build sculptures with canned foods for the annual Billings Canstruction event to help the Billings Food Bank.

“The the theme for 2011 is Disney Pixar movies,” said Jill Washburn, of RMC Campus Corps, who is organizing the event.

The results are giant “canned art” exhibits, Washburn said.

The teams competing to build the best sculpture using cans of food include RMC Students in Free Enterprise, with architect Jim Beal of CTA; RMC Campus Corps, with architect Sherril Burke, HGFA; Albertsons Grocery Store management, with architect Mike Patterson, TUYA Studios Inc.; Albertsons Grocery Store associates, with architect Craig Frohlich, Designlab; and HDR Engineering Inc., with JGA Architects.

The sculptures, which will be built April 9, will be on display April 10-15.

After the entries are judged and displayed, all the food goes to the Food Bank for distribution to needy families. Four tons of canned goods were used in the event last year, said Professor Karen Beiser, SIFE’s faculty adviser.

For information about the event, contact Washburn at or 406-238-7394.


Food Bank Preps for Mardi Gras

from kulr8 March 7, 2011

BILLINGS – Tuesday is Mardi Gras, and when New Orleans prepares for its biggest night of the year, so does the Billings Food Bank. Last year’s ‘Mardi Gras Montana’ raised just over $200,000.

Spokespeople said that was a bit lower than previous years due to the economy. Tuesday’s guests will receive a multi-course meal, and can bid on a number of interesting items.

Food Bank Director Sheryle Shandy said she’s always overwhelmed by the area’s generosity. “We’d like to thank the community for continuing to support us,” she said, “and to encourage them if they haven’t come to Mardi Gras, give it a try.”

The dinner will be held at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. Shandy said 700 people already have their seats, but there’s still space if you act fast. Call the Food Bank at 259-2856 for more information.


Food Bank hosts annual Thanksgiving meal, serves more than 1,000

from The Billings Gazette Nov 25, 2010

The Thanksgiving Day menu Liza Christ prepared for herself was simple: one baloney sandwich. “It’s getting near the end of the month and I am low on food,” Christ said. Paul Bykonen had a similarly simple menu planned: a bowl of soup. “Our food stamps are pending,” Bykonen said.

Then there was George Bird. He traveled from Clinton, Iowa, to Billings for what appeared to be a promising job prospect. It didn’t pan out. That was four months ago. He has been staying at the Montana Rescue Mission since, trying to earn enough money to get back home to his pregnant wife and son.

Multiply their stories by 400 and connect the dots. The picture that emerges is one of about 1,200 people who did not have enough cash on hand to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal. They got one just the same.

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Giving for Thanksgiving begins at Billings Food Bank

from The Billings Gazette Nov 23, 2010

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.

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Billings Food Bank lands $1M gift from foundation

from The Billings Gazette Dec 12, 2008

A $1 million donation from the Fortin Foundation has put the Billings Food Bank a lot closer to its new home.

The announcement of the Florida-based foundation’s gift came Thursday afternoon. Sheryle Shandy, the executive director of the Food Bank, said the money was donated to a capital campaign to fund a new $5 million warehouse and operations center.

“This is the largest single gift the Food Bank has received,” she said. It received a $700,000 gift several years ago, she said.

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