Whitefish food bank provides 1,500 meals using roadkill


Whitefish food bank provides 1,500 meals using roadkill

WHITEFISH, Mont. - Many food banks around Montana have hunter game donation programs, but a food bank in Flathead County goes one step further.

The North Valley Food Bank in Whitefish stands out among Montana food banks because it has a roadkill butchering setup on site. That means workers can provide about 750 pounds of meat a year. That's enough for approximately 1,500 meals.

"This is what it looks like when we're all done," explained Sue Ann Grogan-King as she displayed a perfectly packaged pound of frozen elk burger, butchered right at the facility. Grogan-King is the director at North Valley Food Bank.

She says, contrary to what most would assume, people don't turn their nose up at roadkill salvaged food like you might think.

"I see a fascination with it," she said. "We took some this year and we turned it into pepper sticks. They were fantastic, and it was a good use of the meat."

Since the ‘80s, North Valley has accepted salvaged meat from local police and game wardens. They are able to because of a unique setup, complete with a loading dock and winch to load the game out of the back of a truck.

Their eight volunteer butchers work in a specially designed room for processing the meat, complete with nonslip, sanitary floors and drains.

"Over here is where I'm seeing elk and burger that was just processed last Monday, so all of this is local," Grogan-King explained, sifting through what she says is a mostly empty freezer, ready for another meat donation. The food bank has just finished its busiest season.

The food bank has seen a drop in roadkill harvest since 2013 when the roadkill salvage law went into effect. Before this, it was typically illegal for public to salvage roadkill animals.

If you do salvage roadkill, you must notify Fish Wildlife and Parks within 24 hours of picking the animal up.

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