Printed on: November 22, 2012

Wind project employees donate to I.F. food bank

By Alex Stuckey

Four pickup trucks filled with boxes of turkey, stuffing and canned goods rolled into the Idaho Falls Community Food Bank's parking lot Wednesday.

Five workers from the Meadow Creek wind farm carted the boxes into the food bank's storage area, generating a stockpile of food for the steady stream of hungry families.

And in a large, white envelope, Ridgeline Energy Senior Project Manager Randy Gardner handed a volunteer about $12,400 in cash, checks and gift cards.

The more than 200 Meadow Creek project workers began gathering the donations a week ago. The holiday season was one reason they wanted to donate.

"A lot of us are away from our families this Thanksgiving, and we wanted to make sure everyone has the best holiday possible," said Kelly Davis, Wanzek Construction's general superintendent for the project.

Although the food bank's shelves already are filled with foods of all varieties, the donation was needed, food bank volunteer Laurel Redd said.

The facility distributes food to an average of 800 families per month, Redd said.

To receive food, each individual or family must get a referral slip from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or their pastor or church leader, Redd said.

Families can come for food only six times in six months, Redd said. Each basket of food distributed is enough to feed the family for four days.

"This is an emergency facility," Redd said. "We offer help, not a solution."

Meadow Creek's truckloads of food will help families in need during this holiday season, and the cash donation will help the facility during months when donations are slow, Redd said.

"People are so generous in November and December, but they slip into the shadows during the other 10 months, even though we have the same population all year long," Redd said.

With the money from project workers and other checks that trickle in from individuals throughout the year, Redd will hit the grocery stores during the slower months. She buys everything in bulk and on sale.

"We stretch that money as far as we can," she said.

And project workers are glad they can help her do that.

"Bonneville County is amazing; the people have been great," Davis said. "This is a way for us to give back (to the community) and help out the people."