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How the Application Process works

  1. Applying school may already have a backpack program in place, in which case funds are used not to “set up” a program, but to give financial assistance to an existing program. Applications are processed immediately upon receipt and checks are written within a week of acceptance.

  2. We ask that the program acknowledge becoming a part of the Cole’s Pantry family by naming the new program “Cole’s Pantry,” or by adding a tag line to the existing name, i.e. “Name, a Cole’s Pantry Program.”

  3. This documentation is used in aiding Cole’s Pantry Inc. to write grants to large corporations. Grant money is used to start new programs, supplement existing programs, and fund family holiday gift baskets. These numbers are also posted to our Facebook page and noted on our website to raise public awareness of the need in Montana’s rural communities.

  4. The goal is for each Cole’s Pantry to become self-sustaining through local fundraising efforts. Advice and counsel is available to coach program advisors, and adult and student volunteers on how to set up fundraising activities, as well as how to approach local churches, businesses, and philanthropic organizations for donations of food, supplies, and money. Email Marteann Bertrand at marteannb@gmail.com for fundraising advice and support. Supplemental grants are available when a program is having difficulty with local fund raising.

  5. Vicki Kaufman of Bridger is the Cole’s Pantry Inc. Outreach Coordinator. Vicki is available via email to aid in setting up and maintaining new programs, and to give advice to struggling programs. Her email address is vkaufman@bridgerscouts.org.

  6. Cole’s Pantry Inc. strongly urges new program advisors to visit existing programs in their area. Once a new program has successfully operated for a year, that school may receive visits and/or phone calls from other new advisors.

  7. Cole’s Pantry Inc. holds one large Annual Benefit in the fall of each year. Once a new program is established they are asked to participate in this annual fundraising effort to help other schools as they have been helped. Participation in the Benefit may happen in any number of ways: a school can put up posters in local businesses, pass out brochures, and sell tickets. FFA and FCCLA student volunteers can ask area businesses for silent auction contributions (in 2018 the Red Lodge FFA gathered more than 25 auction items – if this effort is chosen Cole’s Pantry Inc. will coordinate getting the items to Billings for the event). If distances allow, adult and student volunteers may travel to Billings to work at the event (in 2018 we had 20 adult and student volunteers from around the state who functioned as ticket takers, auction runners, and dinner helpers. They had a blast!). Shop classes, art classes, or FFA might create sculptures and/or art pieces for the silent auction (Fromberg, Red Lodge, Bridger, and Huntley have all done this).  The way a school participates in the Annual Benefit is limited only by the imagination!