Jill Washburn, community services coordinator, 406.238.7394,
RMC Media Team, 406.657.1105,  

Rocky steps up in season of giving to help feed local kids and families

BILLINGS, November 26, 2014 – Following two successful food drives over the last several weeks that brought in nearly 1,000 pounds of food for Family Service, Inc., Rocky Mountain College has intensified its focus to help stock a new food pantry at a local Billings elementary school and also specific families in need.

On Wednesday, December 3, RMC will host its annual Yule Log Dinner, which is free to RMC students, faculty, staff, and their families. While this will be a time of celebration to kick off the holiday season on the Rocky campus, it will also include a food drive for everyone to bring nonperishable food items.

All of the food that RMC collects during this holiday event will help Rose Park Elementary School start their food pantry program. Rose Park is RMC's “Partner in Education,” a partnership the College supports by providing tutors and various events that promote literacy and higher education.

“For the holiday season, we are looking to help Rose Park Elementary start their food pantry as another component of our partner in education relationship,” said Jill Washburn, RMC’s community service coordinator.

The food pantry will help supply Rose Park’s backpack meal program, which will provide hungry children with a backpack full of nutritious and easy-to-prepare food that they can take home on weekends and school vacations when other resources are unavailable.

“Nutrition and access to food is as much part of the student's academic success as sitting in the classroom,” said Washburn. “In Montana, one in five kids go hungry. If the children do not have adequate food, then they cannot focus on their studies. Kids shouldn't have to worry about whether or not they are going to be able to eat that night or on the weekends.”

In addition, RMC will also be putting together “Holiday Food Boxes,” which will benefit Rose Park Elementary School families who have identified themselves to the school as not having adequate funds to purchase a meal. Each RMC department will adopt a family and fill a food box with specific items on the shopping list.

Some of the items on the shopping list include canned vegetables, a box of stuffing mix, and a gift card at a local area grocery store. For Rocky Mountain College, the goal is to fill at least 10 food boxes. The boxes will be delivered to Rose Park Elementary School on December 19 for families to pick up.

“We are putting together these holiday boxes because approximately 47 percent of the families at Rose Park have applied and are qualified for free and/or reduced lunch prices due to low income,” said Washburn. “This is a wonderful way that we at Rocky can show how much this College cares about the kids at Rose Park and their families,” said Washburn.