Can the Saints!

It is Tech – Carroll week. In case you missed the memo, there is a bit of a rivalry between the two schools. The Frontier Conference basketball season is quickly grinding to a close, and the third and final regular-season meetings between the Diggs and Saints will take place this Thursday in Butte. Beyond basketball, there is another competition underway between the two rivals.

Can the Saints and the converse, Can the Diggers, is a food drive to restock the shelves of both the Montana Tech food pantry and the Carroll College food pantry. The ‘competition’ is to find out who can raise the most food in a 2-week window, the winners will be both schools’ free food pantries.

I asked the Montana Tech Food Pantry Chair, Baylie Phillips, what she felt was the importance of the Food Pantry to the campus.

“It officially opened the spring semester of 2020 to 2021 and so it's only been going for about two years now. It has gone so well that we went from people coming in just periodically, and we needed to fill the food pantry about once every two weeks, to now we're filling it one to two times a week. So it's been utilized quite a bit more on campus which is fantastic, and then also it's helped a lot with the food insecurity on campus”

A poll taken in the spring of 2020 showed that 40% of Montana Tech students had some sort of food insecurity. It’s a sobering number to think that that many students could be hungry in a classroom.

I asked Baylie if the number of students reporting food insecurities was shocking to her?

“ Absolutely it is, it's something I never thought about until I joined ASMT (Associated Students of Montana Tech) and I started working with the food pantry committee. I never really thought about that kind of stuff. I've been the chair since this last semester, it's shocking the number of people who are insecure about that kind of stuff. We actually started supplying other items in there too like hygiene products, like shampoo and conditioner, body soap and toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, and toilet paper. That was something we were shocked with how quickly it goes, that kind of stuff is super expensive so if you can't afford food you probably can't afford hygiene products as well.”

If you are planning on bringing items up to the basketball games on Thursday, I asked Baylie what the ‘high need’ items are:

“Hygiene products, toilet paper is a big one, deodorant and body soaps, as far as the hygiene products go. Then for the food, anything instant, like microwavable meals, soups, and packets of rice. One thing that we've been noticing more often that is going fast, is snacks. Granola bars, fruit snacks, the little goldfish packets, those go really quick. if you forgot a lunch and you don't have money on your Digger card to go to the cafeteria, you can just go down into the food pantry and grab a quick granola bar to make sure you're at least getting fed. Those are things we would like to get more of. Also we would like to get more gluten-free and dairy-free options. We are trying to be more inclusive in our food selection, and people with allergies, we are planning on having an entire shelf that is just allergy free, so any types of those items would be great too”

You are encouraged to bring items for the Montana Tech Food Pantry to the game on Thursday. There will be a collection box in the HPER, and for every bag of items you bring, you will receive a raffle ticket to a drawing for a Headframe Spirits gift basket and a gift card to a local restaurant.

So, load up bag (or 4) of groceries for the Montana Tech Food Pantry before you head to the HPER on Thursday evening as we look to Can the Saints. The women will play at 5, and the men will follow at 7.

My thanks to Baylie Phillips for taking time to talk to me, and for the great work she does on campus.

If you would like to read more about the food pantry on campus and see other ways you can help, you can do that HERE.

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