By Alan Sorensen
North Havre Community Services Food Bank, commonly referred to as Havre Food Bank, is funded primarily by private donations.
Food Bank, one of the primary sources of holiday food baskets for the area's less fortunate this time of year, is also a United Way agency.
"We ... receive $4,000 in funding from the United Way for our operating expenses and we receive some funding from FEMA," Food Bank Director Cyndi Murphy said in an information sheet she issued recently.
So far this funding period, she said in the fact sheet, Food Bank had spent $5,110.25 on food.
"In 1998, our total expenditures were $22,702; our income was only $15,715," she said. "We are living on our savings."
Food Bank provides food baskets throughout the year, not just at Christmas time.
"Our clients may obtain a food basket from us on a quarterly basis," Murphy said.
Murphy said clients don't have to meet a maximum income requirement because Food Bank is set up for use as an emergency source of food. Anyone can have things happen, she said, that can cause one to be short of money to purchase food.
"We also have fresh fruit and vegetable service that can be accessed by our clients weekly," she said. "The fresh produce comes mainly from IGA's rejects, but we also get garden produce from many individual's gardens in the fall."
In 1998, Food Bank gave away a total of 93,484 pounds of food. So far this year, it has distributed 40,000 pounds of food. An average of 62 percent of its 6,457 clients this year have come in for the weekly produce.
Murphy said that 22 percent of the clients were two basket or new food basket clients and 2 percent were transients. Only 5 percent or 258 people came in more often for a basket.
Records for the 38 percent who didn't come in for produce are kept separately from the weekly records of the 62 percent who did.
Murphy said volunteers are always needed to help sort food.
Anyone wanting to help sort the donations is invited to call Murphy at the Food Bank at 265-2007.