Last week, the Fairfield Food Pantry got a boost with a grant donation of $1,500 from the Great Falls Elks Lodge #214.

The pantry had planned to purchase a pallet jack to make it easier to unload the monthly food shipment from the Montana Food Bank Network, but the network recently made an upgrade to their truck, adding a lift gate that makes the truck easier to unload.

“Mike May at Fairfield True Value has been a lifesaver,” said Megan Caffyn with the Fairfield Food Pantry. “He would see the truck pull up in front of the pantry and bring his fork lift across the street to take the food off the truck.” Megan said that if Mike was not available, Sun River Electric would bring their forklift and 3 Rivers Communications also offered their assistance.

While the pantry still plans to purchase a pallet jack, the priority has shifted to acquiring a commercial upright freezer.

“They’re larger (commercial freezers) than the ones for your home,” said Caffyn, adding “and the ones we have now are chest freezers. With an upright model it’s easier to access the items.”

For now, the food pantry has to make do with the freezers they have, since COVID has caused delays at manufacturers. And the price tag on a new freezer is about $6,000, so they are looking at used models, but those are also in short supply.

Asked how the food pantry is doing as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, Caffyn told the Sun Times that they have run out of snack items, especially those favored by kids. “We’re almost out of canned vegetables and we’re out of boxed deserts (pudding, cake mixes), jelly, and boxed meals.” Boxed meals include mac-n-cheese and hamburger helper.

The pantry accepts cash (and check) donations, but Caffyn said it’s easier on the staff when people just pick up some extra items at the store and drop them off.

Last week, Megan, her mom Cathy Anderson and Chelsea Schilling, also with the Fairfield Food Bank, spent time assembling boxes for 26 families to enjoy a hearty Thanksgiving meal. The boxes included a turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, yams, green beans, pumpkin, apple cider. Shelf-stable milk, cream of mushroom soup and butter.

Donations of food can be dropped of in front of the Fairfield Food Pantry office at the community hall, just inside the main doors. There is also a slot for leaving donations by check.

Questions can be directed to Megan Caffyn at 590-3150 and Chelsea Schilling at 781-1285. For our out of town readers who would like to donate, make checks payable to Fairfield Food Pantry and mail to Fairfield Food Pantry, P.O. Box 642, Fairfield, MT 59436