Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Kate Radford

'Meals match' idea brings in thousands to support food bank, meals


The April meals match program developed by Becky Garland from Action Realty brought in an estimated $6,000 to support local food banks, senior meals and families.

Over the course of four Thursdays, Garland offered to pay $1 for each take-out order from the three local restaurants serving meals during closures, which included the Montanan, the Pit Stop and the Wheel Inn. The total number of tickets served came to 307.

“It’s hard for me to split it up, so I’m going to donate $307 to the food bank and $307 to senior meals,” said Garland.

She also invited people to match her donations, if they were able. “I’m going to say we’re close to $6,000. That includes some in-kind from the restaurants, and the donations have been from all over, not just Lincoln.”

Some donations came with specific requests, such as one that was designated for families with children to pay for food or medicine. Other donors provided ideas for how the money could be spent, such as buying dinner out for seniors.

Diane Ironi from the Senior Center took that idea and worked with Garland to make it a reality. “She turned it into a really fun thing for three Fridays,” said Garland.

They worked with the restaurants to buy take-out meals for about 24 seniors in town. Each restaurant worked to make the meal special, and Garland said the restaurants covered the last of the costs for those meals if the meal fund ended up a little short.

The meal match fund has helped support people across the Lincoln community.

“Donations helped with feeding people through the few that were serving meals, and people in need in line at the grocery store. I want it spent where it needs to be spent,” Garland said.

There’s a lot going on in town behind the scenes that people might not know about, according to Garland.

“I learned there’s so much to what Diane does and what Rick and Patty (Freeland) are doing,” she said. “The food bank is for everyone. There’s a couple of places for people to get food. I just want them to know there is food available if they’re in need.”

“I think it’s really fun once in a while to do that Friday night senior meal,” said Garland, when asked about doing the meal match again at a later date. “Diane and I have talked about that. I did collect some gifts before all this. Erin at Rusty Relics gave some scarves and old magazines from the 40s and 50s. A friend knitted some dishcloths.

“Most everyone woke up and said, ‘I’m healthy and well and I need to help my community because they’ve certainly helped me in so many ways,’” she said.


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