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Flathead Valley gets into spirit of giving

Published On: Oct 29 2013 10:47:40 PM MDT   Updated On: Oct 29 2013 10:51:27 PM MDT

As the days get shorter, and the nights colder, it's a time of year when those in need need that much more. The Flathead Valley is stepping up to the job.

Glacier High School student body President Devon Zander hopes the Wolfpack tramples the Flathead Braves in a cross-town charity drive that wraps up Wednesday.

"It's really competitive because its cross-town, especially with the game on Friday," said Zander. "But it's really friendly because we're all trying to achiever the same kind of goal."

Their goal -- raise as much money and food donations so they can give back to their community.

"When we're blessed with so much, especially here, it feels good to give something back to the community so they can experience some of it too," said Zander.

Down the road, Flathead Valley Community College student Ruth Rickenbacker is gearing up for the college's annual One Warm Coat drive.

"I've seen quite a few homeless people with no coats as well as teens walking around, and children," Rickenbacker explained. "Just important as part of the community to be involved and actively try to change that."

Flathead Food Bank director Lori Botkin admitted it's a tough time of year -- staffers have helped customers they haven't seen in months. It's hard to keep up with the demand, especially with the cutbacks in food stamps.

"He got $49 a month in food stamps and they cut him 100 percent of the way. What are these people supposed to do? They're struggling," stated Botkin.

But with so much giving this season, Botkin said it's like "Christmas every day" at her office.

"In every day of every year we've got people walking in and bringing us things. I just can't tell you how thankful we are for that," Botkin said.

And folks like Rickenbacker and Zander are ready to jump in to help wherever they can.

"I like to see an ethos spirit in the community. I'd like to see that other people feel that they can donate because they see other people - kind of like a pay it forward sort of thing," said Rickenbacker.

For more on how you can give back, visit Flathead Food Bank's website and FVCC's website.