MISSOULA, Mont. -

Montana Food Bank Network will boost its backpack program with a $35,000 grant funded by Ford Motor Company.

In an effort to focus on child hunger, Ford is teaming up with six food bank networks across the country.

In exchange for grant money, the Montana Food Bank Network has been discussing strategies with local Ford dealerships on how to address the problem of child hunger.

Brent Weisgram is chief operations director for the Montana Food Bank Network, and has been speaking with Ford dealers in Montana to find ways they can work together to improve and disperse their backpack program.

"The really exciting thing about Ford is that they really understood the big picture. It wasn't just about, 'We want to help buy some food and get it out there,'" said Weisgram. "What we're looking at is a strategy to say how do we make this a sustainable program for the community."

Weisgram says the program started out only serving one school.

Now it serves 50 schools in 19 communities. In the last year, the food bank has distributed 46,000 backpacks with almost 140,000 meals.

The $35,000 grant will provide the food bank with 9,700 backpacks -- that’s 29,000 meals.