The outlook for a bountiful 2022 harvest was already rather grim. Then the neighbors made things even worse.

Brovold Community Orchard has been a fixture in the Alberton area for decades, sharing their crops and feeding many in Mineral and Missoula Counties. In 2021 alone, they gave away 3,800 pounds of fruit to over 300 people within a 30-mile radius of the orchard.

It is evident that their hearts are heavy with the inability to achieve that generous donation figure this year. A passage from the Brovold website blog reads, "In any type of agricultural endeavor, there are good years and there are bad years. Usually, it’s driven by the weather. This happens to be a bad year for fruit production at Brovold Community Orchard. Most of our apple trees never bloomed at all this spring. The pear trees, plum trees, and the few apple trees that did bloom failed to set much fruit..."

Adding to the already-depleted crops, Bob Summerfield with Brovold Community Orchard told GoFundMe that the orchard is facing some dire needs, after bears broke in, stole a ton of food, and broke tree limbs while trying to climb and steal fruit.

Mr. Summerfield says that some trees were so badly damaged that they will need to be replaced. In an effort to prevent this kind of damage from happening again, the plan is to construct an electric fence around the orchard, to "keep bears out and prevent further damage, and protect next year's fruit harvest."

Volunteers have been organized to erect the fence. But this is where an organization that has given so much to so many needs a Montana-sized effort to help them continue to generously help so many.

The orchard needs help paying for the materials, which will cost about $2,000. If you believe in supporting a charity that supports its community, you can return the kindness by donating here. At last report, only about 25% of the goal had been reached.

They need ya, western Montana!

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