The lobby of Matz Family Chiropractic was festive this weekend, with an autumn themed wreath, various gourds placed around the room and a table stacked with non-perishable foods.
The family-owned chiropractic office in Missoula was wrapping up its first patient appreciation food drive for the University of Montana Food Pantry, which lasted the whole week leading up to Halloween. The drive is the first of many leading into the holiday season, as UM’s annual food drive “Can the Cats” is set to begin Friday, Nov. 6, with Griz eSports competitions, according to a news release.
For each bag of non-perishables brought for the drive, the chiropractors offered free services, including an X-ray and consultation for new patients.
Samantha Snook came in for her first appointment at Matz Family on Saturday, bringing a box to donate. She brought a can of chili that used to be her dad’s favorite, fruit cocktail she knows kids will love, and a can of sliced white potatoes she knew she’d never eat.
“I know that somebody will (eat the potatoes) because I’ve been there,” Snook said.
When she was a young kid, Snook said her family was in need, and so as she grew older and her family became more financially stable, her mom always made sure to donate to food pantries.
Snook came from Kalispell to Missoula just over a year ago to be close to her brother and a wider variety of culinary options. She used to go to the chiropractor a lot, but hasn’t been in a while. She jumped at the new patient screening opportunity at Matz Family Chiropractic when her sister-in-law told her about it, and she is hopeful to ease some of her back pain.
Su Su Oo, a chiropractic assistant at the business, said she was pleased to see so many donations.
“I didn’t expect this much to come from the community, and that’s really awesome,” Oo said.
Oo is in her first year studying pharmacy at UM and has worked with Matz Family Chiropractic for more than two and a half years. The local business has been in Missoula for years as four generations of the Matz family have taken on the trade.
Oo said people started bringing in food even before the drive officially started on Oct. 26, and the donations are piling high.
The downstairs part of the office, where they hold a weight-loss program and massages during the week, now stores the loads of non-perishables. Oo guesses there’s likely more than 1,000 pounds of food, especially with boxes and boxes of heavy cans, though they haven’t weighed it all yet. She said the staff has started a guessing game for the weight of the donations.
Oo said earlier in the week someone from the food pantry came by with boxes to hold the donations and was shocked by the amount of food they had collected already.
“She was like 'oh my gosh, I was just bringing a couple of boxes.' And we’re like ‘no, we need like a truck,’” Oo said with a laugh.
The office will keep collecting donations even though the official drive is over, until Matz Family Chiropractic delivers the food to the pantry, which Oo said will likely be on Wednesday.
Oo gave credit for the drive to her coworker Monica Carl, who she said thought up the idea and helped get the word out with flyers and social media. This is the first year the chiropractic office has held a food drive, Oo said, though in the past they’ve done drives for Toys for Tots.
“As a college student, I can kind of understand the struggles that some people (have) getting food on the table… Some can’t afford food, or it’s just tight,” Oo said. “I hope (the food drive) continues to come through for next year, and I think it will, seeing how successful it was this year.”