BOZEMAN – It started off as a simple question, which led staff at the Bozeman Public Library to spring into action.
“Two little kiddos came up to the desk and they just looked at me with these big eyes and said ” Do you have food? We’re hungry ‘and I’ve never had that happen before, ”says Katheleen McPhereson-Glynn, Children’s Librarian at Bozeman Public Library.
Staff at the library say in recent weeks they have seen an increase in patrons asking them for more than just books, but rather food, many of them facing food insecurity.
“Sometimes it’s somebody that’s diabetic and forgot a snack, but often its other people that are really experiencing hunger for food insecurity,” says Megan Bruggeman, Librarian at Bozeman Public Library.
Which led Kathleen and Megan to call up the Gallatin Valley Food Bank for some food to leave out for patrons.
“You know patrons can not take full advantage of all the resources the library has to offer if they are consistently hungry or dealing with the stress of food insecurity,” says Bruggeman.
They say being a community gathering spot means they want to provide more services than checking out books.
“It was nice to be able to provide that and be a place to provide that for people. I was glad that the kiddos were comfortable enough to ask us, ”says McPhereson-Glynn.
Their program has only been in place for a few weeks. It started with one crate of food a week.
“So far it’s been a really good start,” says Bruggman.
In the weeks since they are receiving 5 crates a week. As they head into summer they are expecting more demand.
Families come here to get their summer reading, to get their summer reading, or just entertain their children. I think it’s going to go even faster, so I predict it will grow, ”says McPhereson-Gylnn.
The staff at the library wants the community to know they are there for them.
“Everyone is welcome, you know there is no need to prove what you need, you just take what you need,” says McPherson-Glynn.
Library staff says that a way to help out with this new program is by donating to Gallatin Valley Food Bank or the Bozeman Public Library Foundation.
Staff at Bozeman Public Library started a mobile food pantry, and listened to the story that led them to start the program.
DIGITAL EXTRA: Feeding more than minds at the Bozeman Public Library