Myth: You have to be unemployed to be eligible for food bank services.
Reality: Anyone who feels like they are in a food emergency, or feels that they WILL BE in a food emergency, can use the Big Sky Community Food Bank; you DO NOT have to “qualify” to use food bank services. At the Big Sky Food Bank, the vast majority of our customers (98%) are employed in Big Sky.
Myth: You have to be eligible for food stamps (SNAP benefits) in order to be eligible for food bank services.
Reality: Everyone is eligible for food bank services. We encourage all of our customers to look for additional means and community resources including SNAP, energy and housing assistance to help move them towards self-sufficiency. We have applications and guidance on hand to help you out with these additional resources. Come see us!
Myth: The Food Bank has income restrictions.
Reality: The Emergency Food Box Program has no income restrictions. We may ask you for some household info for our data purposes, but all information is voluntary and confidential.
The Food Bank operates two programs that have federal income guidelines we follow to qualify area residents and eligible areas for food distribution: the Senior Grocery Program and the Kids’ Summer Lunch Program.
Myth: You have to be homeless to qualify for food bank services.
Reality: No, in fact less than 1% of people requesting assistance from the Big Sky Community Food Bank are homeless/transient. However, Big Sky’s tight housing market has made it very difficult to both live and work in town. Some of our customers spend over half of their monthly income on housing costs. It is not uncommon for customers to reach out to the Food Bank as they negotiate these high housing costs, moving costs, and other financial pressures.
Myth: You can only get food from the Food Bank once every 30 days.
Reality: The 30 day rule is in existence as a guideline, all requests for food assistance are evaluated on a case by case basis and exceptions can be made based on the household’s needs. We work with our customers to encourage and identify other resources that may help further the family’s budget. Food items available in the bread/produce room can be accessed as often as needed.
**Since the Coronavirus Pandemic started we have been encouraging households to use the food bank twice every 30 days, to off-set other household stresses.
Myth: The Food Bank only provides canned goods.
Reality: The Food Bank provides perishable and non-perishable foods including: dairy products, vegetables, fruits, baked goods, canned goods, dried goods, frozen meats. Through our Food Rescue Program, non-perishable items are picked up from our local stores and businesses Tuesday through Friday.
Myth: People abuse services such as the food bank.
Reality: People “use” our services because they need it. We encourage customers to think of using the Food Bank as a strategy for financial success, enabling them to create a pathway toward household stability.
Roughly 1 in 7 Gallatin County residents used food bank services over the course of the last year and asking for help is not easy. On average we see 140 new families every month–those who have never requested similar assistance from us in the past. Roughly 80% of households requesting assistance from the Food Bank utilized the emergency food services less than 3 times within a one year period.
Myth: Using the Food Bank is like taking handouts from the government.
Reality: The Big Sky Community Food Bank in entirely funded by local Big Sky sources including Resort Tax, The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation, Spanish Peaks Community Foundation, Moonlight Basin Community Foundation, local family foundations and individual donors who are happy to help the Big Sky Community.
Well over half of the food that we give to customers comes directly from Big Sky sources – Big Sky grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants, and vacation rentals. There is no shortage of food in the Big Sky food system, and we are very happy to share the wealth of Big Sky resource with our neighbors.
Myth: Only Dirtbags* use the Food Bank
Reality: While we certainly welcome generic Dirtbags, we also help Amateur Dirtbags, Pro Dirtbags, Retired Dirtbags, Dirtbag Wannabes as well as Dirtbag Sponsors, Allies, Friends and the Dirtbag-adjacent.
*If you don’t know what a Dirtbag is, you’re still welcome at the Food Bank!