The Community Food Basket - Idaho Falls gave out 20% more food than usual last month. A total of 359 new families visited the Food Basket in March for their first time. That is in addition to the more than 4,000 individuals that typically visit each month. Executive Director David Manson said he expects the number of people going to the Food Basket for the first time to be even higher in April.
On top of that, the Food Basket has had to stop accepting donated items, since there is no way of knowing if the food comes from a virus-free environment. It also has asked 70% of its volunteers to stop coming because they were believed to be vulnerable to the coronavirus. Most were either elderly or living with an elderly family member.
When asked how the Food Basket planned to meet these rising needs, Manson let out a long sigh.
It seems his prayers are about to be answered.
On Tuesday, trucks filled with 42,000 pounds of food will pull up the Community Food Bank in Idaho Falls. All of it is coming from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishops’ Storehouse in Salt Lake City.
“For years I would see stories about large amounts of food being shipped by the church to victims of hurricanes and earthquakes and tsunamis around the world. Never did I think that there would be a need to have it shipped three hours north of the Bishops’ Storehouse to Idaho Falls,” said Jay Hildebrandt, Media Specialist of the Greater Idaho Falls Communications Council of the LDS Church.
The Bishops’ Storehouse is a 570,391-square-foot welfare facility built by the LDS Church “to help the organization respond to disasters and take care of those in need regardless of their religion.” It sits on 35.88 acres and can store up to 65,000 pallets of food and supplies.
The donation will consist of 23 different food items “ranging from beef stew to green beans to flour to chocolate pudding.”
The money for the food donation is coming from a unique place. Each month, church members are asked to fast one Sunday in a practice known as a “fast offering.” The money they would have spent on that day’s meals is donated to the church. The church then puts it toward providing food for those in need.
“It will have a huge impact for us. We don’t know how long this crisis will last, so the fact that this is coming in as our inventory is being depleted is a blessing,” Manson said.
Those looking to give monetary donations or volunteer can learn more on the Community Food Basket's website at https://www.communityfoodbasketidahofalls.org/