The Missoula Food Bank doesn’t typically do fundraiser events, but this Friday it’s aiming for something unique.
The Top Hat Lounge was host to the first Food Bank fundraiser 30 years ago, and to mark three decades of service this year’s celebration will take place there once more.
First up on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. is a dinner event, silent auction and trivia game.
It will feature food from the Top Hat’s new tapas-style menu and live music from Whippletree, a trio of Amy Martin, Caroline Keys and Chelle Terwilliger. There will be trivia, and then a retrospective on the Food Bank’s history, including its previous locations.
“We’ve got some cool pictures from back at the Old Spaghetti Factory (building),” said Jessica Allred, Food Bank community relations director.
There will be a slate of past volunteers who predate all the current staff, and a discussion looking back at food insecurity over the past
“Demand is actually higher now than it ever has been in our history,” Allred said, noting that a previous spike in need in 2008 recently was surpassed.
“In 2012, we served more individuals than ever before in our history,” she said. The Food Bank currently provides 6,000 visits each month.
The nonprofit will also look at programs that look at some of the root causes of hunger.
“When we see children who grow up in food-insecure homes are at higher risk of becoming food insecure as they grow older,” Allred said.
They are more likely to underperform in school or drop out entirely, leading to lower wages and a continuing cycle of poverty, she said.
Later in the evening, there will be a comedy lineup headlined by Jeff Dye, a stand-up who was a finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” Dye has also had a half-hour special on Comedy Central.
“Jeff Dye’s style is very goofy, he brings a likable persona to the stage and after his show, he makes it feel like he is the guy you wanna have a drink with,” said Lukas Seely, proprietor of Montana Comedy, which brought Dye to Missoula.
Also performing that evening are Seely, a Billings native and stand-up, and Missoula comedian Michael Beers.
Anyone who attends the dinner event is free to stay through the 8:30 comedy show, Allred said.
“Montana Comedy has been really fun to work with. It’s unique. It’s something we feel maybe hasn’t been done a lot in Missoula so we’re excited for the opportunity,” she said.