Don K Subaru dealership donates $12,000 to Columbia Falls backpack assistance program

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Don K Subaru in Whitefish donated $12,600 to the Columbia Falls Backpack Assistance Program Monday as part of the Subaru “Share the Love” event. Pictured, from left, are Don K owner Don Kaltschmidt, Jay Stagg, Andrea Getts, Damon Butters, Farm Hands Nourish Executive Director Gretchen Boyer, Anthony Juliano, Taylor Wilmot, Mark Guest and Kendal Crowe. (Jeremy Weber photo)

The Columbia Falls backpack assistance program got a much-appreciated boost from Don K Subaru in Whitefish Monday morning as the car dealership donated more than $12,000 to the Farm Hands Nourish the Flathead organization to help fund the effort.

Each week, the backpack assistance program provides food for more than 200 hungry children in Columbia Falls Schools, as well as hundreds of other hungry children throughout the Flathead Valley.

“We feel very blessed to receive these funds to help us really make the program a success. We are so thrilled that everyone was willing to donate to this charity,” Farm Hands Nourish Executive Director Gretchen Boyer said. “There are not enough words to express our gratitude for this incredible contribution. This money will ensure that the children who are at risk of not having a reliable source of food on weekends and during school vacations will not go hungry.”

According to Boyer, the programs needs roughly $60,000 per year to operate and the Don K donation of $12,600 will go a long way to making sure the program can help all who need it.

“We are so incredibly blessed to live in a community where caring for others is the norm and giving back is part of the culture,” Boyer said. “Don K Subaru is one that leads the way for other businesses in our community and we thank Don and his team for their support.”

During the “Subaru Share the Love Event” in November and December of 2018, customers who made purchases at the dealership had the option of donating to several charities, including the ASPCA, Make-a-Wish, Meals on Wheels, the National Park Foundation or the Columbia Falls Backpack Assistance Program. Overwhelmingly, customers chose to donate to the local charity.

“I had my guys explain to buyers that money donated to the others went to the national level while donations to the backpack program would have money staying here, locally. Most people chose to keep the money here in the Valley,” Don K sales manager Mark Guest said.

“Our commitment to our local community stems from the fact that we live here, raise our own families here and, being locally owned, we care deeply about the health and success of the many communities we serve here in the Flathead,” Don K Subaru owner Don Kaltschmidt said. “Gretchen and her team do important work as they help feed young people at risk and we are grateful for the opportunity to do what we can to guarantee their success. We are just grateful to be a part of this.”

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