Even when things in the world, which includes our little corner of it, seem to be spinning out of control, you can always count on the people in our communities to come through for those needing help.
Two different groups of volunteers, one from the Moose Lodge and the other from Canvas Church, decided they wanted to help the elderly or homebound in our community, this time, by delivering groceries from Albertsons and Big Sky Foods to them.
“There was a bunch of us that got together at the Moose before the shut-down and we were trying to think of ways we could help out in the community. One of the store managers at Albertson’s is a new Moose member and before we knew it, we had come up with the idea to deliver groceries,” said Mike Coen.
Mike said the schools were taking care of the kids by putting together lunches and breakfast for them, the senior center was taking care of some of the elderly by delivering meals to a number of them, but it still seemed like there was another way they could help.
“We knew that grocery delivery was what was needed. So, we talked to Mo Brown, the store manager at Albertson’s and Scott McCombs, the assistant store manager and they were on board the minute we explained what we wanted to do,” Mike said.
If you need groceries but are not comfortable getting out and being around people, or you have been told you need to stay home, here is what you need to do.
First, call Albertson’s at (406) 873-5035, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and ask to speak with either Mo or Scott. Have your grocery list ready and read them the items you need. You will need to pay for those items with a credit or debit card when you place your order, so have your card information ready as well.
Albertson’s will fill the order, process your credit or debit card for the amount of the order and then call the Moose Lodge delivery folks, who will be out making deliveries, Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m.
“We won’t be interacting with anyone more than necessary and will be keeping a good social distance, too. We will pick up the groceries to be delivered at the rear of the store, load them into our vehicles and then deliver them where they need to go. We can place them on a doorstep and ring a bell so they know they are there or, if you need help getting them into the house, we can do that for you too. We want to be safe doing this, for us and for those we are delivering too,” Mike stressed.
If there is a high number of deliveries for one day, Mike said they will be sure and make all the deliveries, even if it takes them past their 6 p.m. deadline. “We will make sure everyone gets their delivery that day,” he said.
Right now, the Moose Lodge has about nine volunteers, which according to Mike, should hold us for awhile. They have other Moose members who have said they would help whenever they need them.
If you prefer to get your groceries from Big Sky Foods (formerly Harvest Foods), Canvas Church volunteers have that one covered.
“We are working with Jim at Big Sky Foods to get groceries to those people that want to use that grocery store and are homebound or just do not feel comfortable getting out during this difficult time,” said Pastor Brian Suttle.
Their delivery works much like the Albertson’s, with a few differences.
To qualify for grocery delivery with Big Sky Foods, you need to be in Cut Bank or within five miles of the city limit. Then you can phone Big Sky Foods at (406) 873-0802 with your grocery list or email them with your grocery list at email@example.com on any day of the week. Your grocery list needs to be 50 items or less. You must also provide them with your credit or debit card information as a means to pay for your groceries at the time you place your order. The groceries will only be delivered Friday through Sunday evenings from 5-6 p.m.
“We will load up the groceries from Big Sky Foods and deliver them three evenings each week, leaving them on the doorsteps,” said Pastor Brian.
When asked if they needed additional volunteers, he said, “We have had a big response from people who want to be part of our delivery team, some from the church and others from the community. We have enough volunteers that we should only have to ask them to do one shift of deliveries a week.”
He added, “This is a perfect way for all of us to channel our energy and reach out to those that need some assistance. I would like to commend this community for always being so willing to help their fellow community members out whenever there is a need.”
Both stores recognize the need to practice social distancing and keep them and the new teams of deliverers safe, so Mike said Albertson’s is “offering us rubber gloves and protective wear, if we want it. They have been so great to work with,” he added.
Along with grocery deliveries, Mike’s wife, Teresa Coen at Coulee Quilts is spearheading another effort pulled together by yet more community members wanting to help.
“I didn’t start the revolution, I just joined it,” she said smiling. That “revolution” is all about making face masks out of material for those wanting a bit more protection from the outside elements.
“People were asking what they could do and both Karla Sullivan and Linda Burley made some face masks and I decided to join in with them, making them for whoever wants or needs them,” Teresa said. She wasn’t alone. Several local and area quilters and others who like to sew have joined in, including some of the area Hutterite colonies.
Teresa said she would make some for Northern Rockies Medical Center, if they needed some, but right now, it is mostly individuals coming in asking for them. “I am just making them for people who ask for them,” she said. “And people can pay me whatever they feel they are worth to them.”
She said they are just a “basic facemask” cut from a basic pattern she found. She sews it together and in 20 minutes to a half hour, she has one facemask completed.
“Earlier last week, we were super busy at Coulee Quilts with many of my quilters coming in and wanting to get material and help make the masks. I so appreciate the people who rally to help every time there is a need,” she said.
If you are looking to get a mask or two, Teresa said to contact her by messaging her on Facebook or calling Coulee Quilts at (406) 873-2685.
“Community service is good for us all. It makes all of us feel good to find a way to help someone else,” she shared.