It takes an army — of volunteers

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Every day in every season, volunteers troop through the Flathead helping nonprofit organizations continue their missions of serving the needs of this community. Here are just a few on the frontlines:

Community Kitchen-Feeding the Flathead is a lifesaver for many families and homeless individuals in the valley. The nonprofit provides dinners 20 nights a month to the needy year-round.

Feeding the Flathead is operated by an all-volunteer board together with volunteers from different churches who provide dinners at Central Christian Church, Christ Church Episcopal and Bethlehem Lutheran.

In recognition of its dedicated, consistent volunteer efforts, the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund recently contributed a $500 Waves Grant to the organization. Volunteer Duane Anderson, a member of Bethlehem Lutheran, was instrumental in applying for the grant.

A number of other churches and groups also provide free meals. The Inter Lake posts them monthly, typically in Sunday’s Montana Life section.

The Flathead Association of Senior Citizens wrapped up a record-breaking fundraiser over the holidays. On behalf of the members of the Kalispell Senior Center, the association thanked Kalispell Center Mall’s manager Eric Peterson for providing the group with a great space for its largest fundraiser of the year, “It’s a Wrap.”

“Without Eric’s thoughtfulness towards the seniors of the valley, this could not have been accomplished,” Association president Steve Bicknell said. “Thank you to over 90 volunteers who donated their time to wrap gifts, people who donated the much-needed supplies, and those who brought their gifts to us and made donations. You are amazing, and we are so very grateful!”

As its website states, the Kalispell Senior Center is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes to promote and enhance the health, well-being, social, cultural and intellectual activities of its members.

Fundraisers play an important part of continuing this service, Bicknell said.

“The center provides the place, you provide the energy. It’s a partnership leading to success!”

From cribbage and bridge to chair yoga and square dancing, there’s always something happening at the senior center. To learn more, call 257-1598 or visit

The Whitefish Shines volunteer committee thanked the hard-working community volunteers who turned out Feb. 25 to help take down the Whitefish winter decorations.

Volunteer coordinator Chris Schustrom says the project wouldn’t be possible without those volunteers, as well as those who make financial donations to the project, and the assistance of Flathead Electric Co-op linemen, Rocky Mountain Painting, Fast Signs and the city of Whitefish.

Donations to the longstanding and much appreciated community project can be mailed to Whitefish Shines, P.O. Box 695, Whitefish, MT 59937.

In one final note, Ron Lebert wrote the Inter Lake recently to thank some passers-by who made his day after he took a nasty spill on the ice Feb. 8 on West Idaho Street in Kalispell.

Lebert had just gotten out of his pickup and walked about 50 feet before he slipped. In a matter of seconds two men, each in their own pickups, stopped to help him.

“I’m 68 years old and quite overweight,” Lebert said, “They helped me up, made sure I was OK and picked up my belongings for me.

People like this need to know how much they are appreciated.”

Hats off to all of you who see a need and are ready to step in with both boots on the ground.

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