As Thanksgiving nears and with it the holiday season, agencies that serve the hungry and homeless across Montana are saying a heartfelt thank you to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
Above and beyond what it typically donates each year to state food banks, pantries, rescue missions, food networks and homeless shelters, the Missoula-based foundation has announced a special holiday donation of $180,000 benefiting 74 organizations.
In Missoula, the recipients of the generosity include the Montana Food Bank Network, the Missoula Food Bank and the Poverello Center.
The timing of the gift couldn’t have been better, said Eran Fowler Pehan, executive director of the Poverello Center.
“This is tremendous for us,” Fowler Pehan said Monday. “We had 119 overnight guests last night at the shelter, which is our all-time high of clients.
“We hit our record high in 2009, when we had 100 people a night, and in 2011, that record jumped to 111.”
The extra boost of cash – about $10,000 – comes at a critical time, Fowler Pehan said.
“It means a great deal when we are serving more people than ever in our soup kitchen and pantry,” she said. “It’s been a cold snap, and there are more people at the shelter, more supplies needed, and this funding directly impacts our ability to provide meals for people who show up at our doors.
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