BILLINGS — One Livingston-based nonprofit dropped off a pallet of over 4,000 pounds of meat for Family Servicein Billings, just the first stop for the organization. The Producer Partnership is on a three-day mission to drop off over 40,000 pounds of meat to 10 cities across Montana.
Family Service said they’ve already helped provide 60,000 Montanans this year with food and other services. It’s a common sight at Family Service, family after family suffering from food insecurity.
“During COVID, we saw a huge spike. I know in Livingston they saw about a 300% increase when the shutdown happened,” said Matt Pierson, the president and founder of The Producer Partnershipat Family Service on Tuesday.
That demand for service is back.
“We’re seeing it coming back to COVID numbers again now from what I’m hearing from people just because of the raise in inflation, the cost of food, people trying to make ends meet,” Pierson said.
That’s why Pierson founded the Producer Partnership back in 2020.
“We take in donated animals, we process them in our own federally inspected facility and then donate it out in food banks and schools throughout Montana," said Pierson.
Producer Partnership operates the only federally inspected nonprofit purchase and operating facility in the nation. The group donated 4,200 pounds of meat to Family Service Tuesday, something that doesn’t happen very often.
“Coming across fresh donations, such as fruits, veggies, especially meat products 'cuz they’re really hard to come by, and so this donation is a lifeline,” said Family Service’s warehouse operations assistant, Debra Anderson.
Billings was the first stop for the partnership, but the farthest east. Family Service helps 17 communities across southeast Montana, which makes this donation a hot commodity.
“It’ll go pretty quickly. Like I said, meat is a big commodity, so it’ll feed thousands of households within the next couple days,” said Family Service’s development director, Felicia Burg.
Burg said the partnership will continue in the years to come, providing Family Service with much-needed help.
“That’s how we really combat poverty and food insecurity is when neighbors in Montana help other neighbors in Montana. There’s no magic formula,” Burg said.