Food Drive Success in Idaho Falls

Published online: Nov 12, 2020 Events
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IDAHO FALLS -- It’s being called the largest and most successful food drive in the history of east Idaho. During the month of October generous people donated more than 157,000 pounds of food for the Community Food Basket.

It was a joint effort that included the Just Serve program, local churches, the Idaho National and Melaleuca. They all came together after learning demand at the Community Food Basket had doubled since people lost jobs because of the pandemic.

“We anticipate that our numbers will continue to increase for the next year while these families try to recover,” Community Food Basket Executive Director Ariel Jackson said. “This pandemic has affected us incredibly with the loss of some key food drives.”

The Food Basket found itself 100-thousand pounds short what it needed this time of year. But help started to arrive from many directions.

A truck loaded with 42-thousand pounds came from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishop’s Storehouse in Salt Lake City and local media were on hand to cover the story and publicize the need for more donations.

“More and more people are struggling, and food insecurity is a big deal and so it helps them through their crisis, and for me personally it’s feeding the poor and the hungry,” John Strobel, President of the Idaho Falls South Stake said. “This is a gift from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but there are other people involved in this.  We work closely with the Community Food Basket, which is represented by The Regional Council of Christian Ministries, which is eight other faiths in our communities and they’re working with us to feed the poor and the needy. We work well together.”

Local companies and organizations pitched in to gather donations at stores around town each Saturday. Misty Benjamin from the Idaho National Laboratory was happy to be part of it, “It’s been incredible to watch different groups and different employers come together in order to support those who are suffering right now from food insecurity.”

At one church drop off point members and missionaries unloaded vehicles filled with donations. Members of more than a dozen stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had blanketed their neighborhoods with flyers telling people where to donate and these volunteers were ready.

“You know it feels good – it’s nice helping people,” volunteer James Strobel said.

At the end of the day each Saturday in October all the food was brought to the church parking lot on Sunnyside and Holmes where JustServe volunteers unloaded it into bins which were then loaded into the Food Basket trucks.

“The JustServe system provides volunteers to perform service in the community. We invite everyone to join us in our quest to improve and enhance the community,” Ammon Area JustServe Serve Coordinator Susan Stucki said.

The Community Food Basket had set a goal of collecting 120-thousand pounds of food from the October food drive to get them through the holidays and beyond. 

Food drive organizers like Launie Shelman, local community outreach specialist for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knew what needed to be done to achieve that goal. “We need to lift where we stand and now is the time to lift.”

And lift they did. In the end, the food drive exceeded the 120-thousand pound goal, bringing in more than 157-thousand pounds of food -- a testament to what people of good will can accomplish when they work together.





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