If there is one thing Bozeman knows how to do, it’s come together during times of struggle. This has been even more apparent during this pandemic. Keeping up with what is happening is essential, but too much negativity and mixed messages in the media is exhausting. We want to take a moment to focus on the beautiful outpouring of support our community is giving in many different ways.
Local nonprofits have been going above and beyond to support our community during this difficult time.
Gallatin Valley Food Bank and HRDC are making sure no one goes hungry during the pandemic and community members are helping out with this. Food pantries are still open, SNAP & WIC have modified their requirements and schools are still offering free lunches. Fork & Spoon is offering take-out daily from 5-7 pm. HRDC has started a Shop 4 A Senior program to get groceries to seniors so they can stay home and stay safe. There are several ways to continue to volunteer and they are taking all the necessary precautions to keep volunteers safe.
Love INC has been dropping off boxes of supplies and food items to local families, including over 200 Easter baskets. They have been working hard with Bozeman churches keeping families stocked with their essential items, including toilet paper when it couldn’t be found anywhere in town. They are looking for donations of certain essential items, visit their website for what their current needs are and how to donate.
The Bozeman Area Community Foundation and Greater Gallatin United Way have launched a community response to help organizations in SW Montana and have raised over $300,000 so far which is amazing! The funding will focus on food/supply distribution, emergency housing, and financial assistance, health and wellbeing, plus programs/supplies needed during the crisis. Click here to donate or apply for funding. The Bozeman Area Community Foundation is gearing up for Give Big and although it will look different this year, nonprofits need our help more than ever.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is finding creative ways for Bigs and Littles to still connect. This can be a scary time for kids and the connection is more important than ever. They are finding ways to video chat to check in on kids and they have several resources for virtual activities to keep kids entertained.
Montana Science Center is making masks with their 3D printer and are offering virtual exhibits and programs for kids.
Cancer Support Community had to quickly change how they held their programs to protect their members, volunteers, and staff. They wasted no time to change everything to virtual and are working hard to stay connected while distanced during this difficult time.
In Bozeman, supporting our local businesses has always been a priority. Now it is even more important because we want our favorite local businesses to be around when this is all over! It has been so great to see the creative ways local businesses are working with the shelter in place order. Several restaurants, breweries and coffee shops are offering take out or delivery options. That means if you’re craving sushi, no problem you can get still get your fix from Dave’s. Need a growler refill? Nearly all of the breweries are there for you! Sick of making your own coffee? Wild Joe’s is taking online and phone orders. It is wonderful to see so many people supporting these local businesses.
Speaking of local businesses, there are many companies stepping up to help out. Simms Fishing is making medical gowns while Mystery Ranch Backpacks and West Paw are making masks. When the Food Co-op asked for masks for all of their employees, they received more than 300. Urban Kitchen started a Food For Families program. It started as a program to feed people in the industry affected by COVID-19 and evolved into them offering free meals daily to anyone who needs them. Local distillers began making hand sanitizer when supplies at stores dwindled. This is just a small example of local Bozeman businesses helping out the community. Bozemanstrong.org is a website that provides information about businesses and services during this time. It has lists of businesses and what they are currently offering as well as when and where senior grocery hours are happening.
Bozeman has an incredible school district, and any parent who is currently helping their children with remote learning has a whole new appreciation for our teachers! Our schools are doing an amazing job trying to keep our students learning during this time as well as staying connected. If you drive by any of the schools you’ll see signs of support in the windows. Stadium lights are on at the high school to honor students, staff and communities during this socially distanced time. The best has been the principal dance videos. Several of the local principals have taken to the challenge dancing and lip-syncing around the empty schools bringing lots of laughs to students watching. A GoFundMe raised $31,500 in 40 hours to expand lunch deliveries for the HRDC food program so kids can continue to participate in the free lunch program even while school isn’t going on. This is a new world for kids, teachers and parents and it's been remarkable to see our school district do all they can to help.
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