The Billings Food Bank has always been very involved in the community, but with the additional space in our new building we will be expanding our services to include new and innovative services and opportunities for the people of Billings and the  surrounding communities.

Did you know that the Billings Food Bank provides about 14 million pounds of food annually, to folks needing food assistance? Because of the continued efforts of the Billings Food Bank and it’s supporters many people will eat nutritious food today – people that would otherwise go to bed hungry and worrisome about their next meal.

“Billings Food Bank was formed in 1982.  Originally designed to serve agencies having food programs, and primarily in Yellowstone County.  It has now evolved into a truly independent food bank responding to requests from anywhere, throughout the state, the country and, in many cases beyond.  If we have the ability to help, we do.”

In the past year our stats are as follows:

99,385  Food Boxes Provided *Note we also maintain a baby pantry and a pet food pantry.
64,896  Food boxes provided through our Senior Nutrition Program
17,516  Food Boxes provided through our voucher system
254,683 Meals, sack lunches, back packs provided through Fortin Culinary Center (in addition to boxes)
15,855  Holiday food services
17,063  Meals provided to Boys & Girl Club locations. (Note we are now doing 2,000 meals weekly)

In the last five years we have also established the Fortin Culinary Center where we teach culinary job training skills. We have so far had 98 graduates of this program with a 99% success rate of those truly wanting to work.  The demand for people with culinary skills is tremendous.  We have a very strict set of rules for our students as there is no charge for the course, but if you don’t show us you are dedicated, you are not allowed to continue.  We have literally changed lives with this program.  We are truly proud because we have moved many of our students from a generational norm of ‘living on the system’, to now being productive members of the work force. Our Fortin Culinary Center has also become a source of revenue and training for our students, and others. We have a large reception hall seating 300 which can be divided into two sections  for meetings, weddings, receptions, company parties, memorial services, job training sessions, Serv Safe Classes, etc. We serve many banquets on a regular basis, which, of course, is tremendous training for our students.

Last year we opened our Fortin Café and Gift shop in response to a neighborhood demand, which has now turned in to a popular breakfast and lunch venue.  It is also a great training field for our students, many of whom we actually hire. We have two full-time chefs, one teaches our classes and one runs the café.

We also encourage social enterprise by promoting and selling art and other items for area artists.

And, we rent our beautiful commercial kitchen to entrepreneurs wishing to start or expand their food related business.  We do this on an hourly basis so young businesses do not have to incure a heavy debt load as their business develops.

We have been the catalyst for many businesses that have now grown and started their own places. We provide cooking and nutrition classes to not only our recipients, but to youth and others as our time and facility use allows.

We serve as a training ground for many folks with special needs, and have actually hired several.

In our spare time we also plant, harvest and maintain a 6.5 acre garden located at Oscar’s Park.