May 2018 Newsletter

Community voices can only drive change if someone is listening. We’ve made a special point to pause and listen this year and what we’ve heard has shaped our world.

We are listening closely and sharing resources so participants can build the community they envision. Not only have folks who access food helped shape our message, advocacy work, and programs, but have begun to lead programs of their own.

Two beautiful examples launched at The Hunger Coalition recently. Teofila Mendoza dreamed of starting a supportive, inclusive women’s group to give local women a space to share, heal, and grow. Teo found this space in Bloom Community Farm and has already led the group in a series of unforgettable or inovidable meetings. 

Meanwhile, in the kitchen during our weekly food distributions, participants are taking turns cooking meals to help bridge the community table. And they’ve had to dish up extra helpings because last month we hit another record high – filling 760 grocery carts with healthy food in the month of April. 

While this means the cost to feed our community continues to rise, 66 donors rallied in support of good food for all on Idaho Gives, helping us more than double our goal for the day!

Thank you to everyone who gave. This support is essential as we continue to grow and adapt the solution to hunger for a healthier Blaine County.

Read the full May Newsletter here. Or, better yet, have it sent automatically to your in-box every month.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, Executive Director
*preceding photos by Sun Valley Magazine and Jay Graham


IDAHO GAVE

photo courtesy of Shanti LaRue

We are thrilled and humbled to report that you raised a historic $24,100 to advance food justice in Blaine County – which is over double our original goal!

Big thanks to the good food philanthropists who gave to ensure all matching funds were met and everyone in Blaine County has access to good food: The Nalen Family Foundation, Christine Ferguson, Penelope Coe, Laurie Roark, Kristin McMahon, Susan & Arnold Blair, Dede Huish, Elizabeth Brennan, James Feldbaum, Sonia Sommer, Mary Moore, Meghan Faherty, Valdi Pace, Hannah Young, Mary Hall, Denise De Lisser, Dave Keir & Gadrie Edmunds, Nicole St. Germain, Karen Nestor, Julie, Brookie, & Sarah Olsen, Ken & Jill Murray, Jane Dettwiler, Bekka Mongeau, Alan Oliver, Pat Rawlinson, Priscilla Pittiglio, Kathryn Goldman, Gayle Arrowwood, Krista Felton, McNair & Will Bailey, Trudy Dane, Jan Peppler, Mariela Orihuela, Noel Jensen, Susan McIlroy, Joseph & Anna Rodriguez, Julie Molema, Jim Perkins, Beverley Robertson, Gus O’Neill, Pam & Chris Gammon, Tom Iselin, Five Loaves, Susan Robinson, Julie Meineke​, Jon Paris Nicholson​, Debra Masner, Jeremy Fryberger, Joanne Mayhew, Robert Brock & Nina Steffens, Joel & Amy Brazil, Courtney Jelaco, Angenie McCleary, Michele Johnson, Ryan Georgas, Brooke Bonner & Kyle Baysinger, Heidi Schiers, Jeanne Liston, Shannon Allen, Bob and Joanne Ely, and several anonymous donors.

Thank you to everyone who gave and joined the Good Food Community on Idaho Gives. Forward ho!

Authentic Voices Project – Mitch Darrah

Introducing the selfless, charismatic, Mitch Darrah of Hailey!

Assistant @ The Oasis in Bellevue
End of Life Caregiver
Dog Dad to Pickle and Gabe

I moved up here when I was six years old from Boise to Picabo. It’s a beautiful little place. My father was the manager over at the old granary before it burned and my mother was the maid at Sun Valley Company and worked her way up. She was there for almost 37 years until she retired.

I worked various jobs to be able to support myself. I started dishwashing at Sun Valley
Company when I was 14 and ended up in food and beverage in Vegas for 10 years. While there, I found out my mother had Parkinson’s.

We thought she’d move down to Vegas with me, but she didn’t want to and you can’t ask your parents to give up everything, so I thought, ok I’ll put myself on the back burner, [laughs] which is worth it you know, every bit of it is worth it. So I came back to finish her life up here and instead of going back to Vegas, I stayed. I like cities, but your parents brought you into this world so you have to help them out as well.

That’s why I came to take care of my mother, which was good because she was able to pass away at home. I had accepted the fact that I didn’t want to see her suffer, but I also didn’t want to lose her. In the end, I realized, there was no greater love in my life.

Now I do a little bit of home health care. People call me to come over and watch their grandparents, which is wonderful. That’s the one thing about being with my mother, I was used to taking care of her to the very end so it’s easier for me to go stay with someone who is terminally ill. Though it’s not easy, sometimes you’re just there to listen.

I reached out for food because it’s not as easy in this day and age to live. It really got tough in this community with everything raising up in prices. You’ve got high rent – I went from $575 per month to $701 per month at the same place in one year. My insurance premiums went from $46 to $183 and then food, food’s not cheap. Nothing’s cheap about living here, you know, but The Hunger Coalition is exceptional, it’s helped me out in every way. Being diabetic, the food I got from The Hunger Coalition showed me how to make different nutritional choices and I lost 100 lbs. The doctor said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep it up”.

I love this area, even though I like the city, to me it’s like there’s a lot of chaos and a lot of hatred in the world out there. Here in Blaine County it is very warm and welcoming, and that’s the great thing about this place.

April Newsletter 2018

There’s something special about Hunger Coalition volunteers. 

While they may span generations, hometowns, life experiences, and sides of the tracks, everyone shows up for the same reason: to make our community a better place for all people.

Our team of volunteers is the perfect example of what happens when what unites us outshines what divides us. The warmth that radiates between volunteers and participants as they discuss recipes, favorite meals, their children, grandchildren, the antics of their pets, or the current snow pack is contagious. In these moments, our community is at its best. There is no us and them, just we. 

For volunteer appreciation week, we’re celebrating the humble, hardworking, talented, and enthusiastic team of volunteers who keep The Hunger Coalition moving forward. By the numbers, 423 volunteers invest $230,000 in staff time per year. We are teeming with gratitude as we honor their impact.

Thank you to our volunteers and everyone in the Good Food Community who continue to advance the food justice movement with action and compassion. 

Read the full April Newsletter here. Or, better yet, have it sent automatically to your in-box every month.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, Executive Director
*preceding photos by Sun Valley Magazine and Jay Graham


VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

April 15-21 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, so be sure to thank the community volunteers in your life! As The Hunger Coalition celebrates its 15th year, there are some particularly special volunteers to honor. Sixteen local people have been a part of our volunteer family since the start, or very near the start, and continue to dedicate their time, talents, and hearts to ensure that our community thrives.

Join us in thanking and recognizing our 2018 Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees:

  • Susie Alban and Brooke Bonner have been here for fifteen years!
  • Mary Ellen Card, Todd Cavette, Lee Dabney, Tyler Davis Jeffers, L’Anne Gilman, Florence Harvey, Diane Kahm, Gerry Kearns, Sam & Nancy Kennette, Mary Malkmus, Sue Petersen, Pat Rawlinson and Eleanor Ward have all volunteered between 10-14 years!

That’s a collective 200+ years of service!

Rachel Shinn, volunteer and program manager at The Hunger Coalition said, “When I started working at The Hunger Coalition in 2013, I found a sense of community that I hadn’t found anywhere before. I think a lot of people come to help out and stay to be a part of a remarkable family that is so many things: a friend, a garden, a laugh, a meal, an idea, a think tank, a group of hundreds of people who all want to see our community thrive.”

A million times thanks to our incredible volunteers and happy, happy Volunteer Appreciation Week!


FROM THE FIELD

Here comes summer! April signals the start of so many exciting opportunities at Bloom Community Farm and The Hope Garden. Volunteer for Veggies, Bloom Youth Project, and a new Women’s Group led by local, Teofila Mendoza, are all kicking off this month.

Enjoy some quick inspiration for what’s to come in this homage to Bloom Community Farm narrated by 2017 Bloom Youth Project intern, Matt. After last season, Matt’s feeling pretty good. He reported, “I’m doing good. Still very tired, still working hard, though I have to say I don’t eat as well as I used to when working at Bloom. My grades are fair, and I’ve been working on a healthier mind and my body. It’s working like a dream, and not only am I feeling better, but I’m less depressed, healthier and looking better. I miss y’all back at The Hunger Coalition, but I’m happy to have moved into a better phase of my life and am going to continue moving down my path to bettering myself.”

March 2018 Newsletter

At times, even superheros need help. Whether it’s a trusty partner or a little magic, heroes rarely go it alone.

There are countless heroes in our community who are faced with unthinkable obstacles.

Medical crisis, death in the family, an absentee parent, or a compromising relationship are just a few everyday obstacles that challenge everyday heroes.

This time of year, challenges are magnified by the high cost of winter. The lack of snow this winter has spelled under-employment for so many of our neighbors. 

Such challenges require superhuman courage to overcome, but courage alone is a single flame. Whether you’re faced with challenges of heroic proportions or hoping to be there for someone who is, it takes a community to feed the flame and light the way.

The good food community grew around the idea that we are stronger, happier, and healthier together. Through food shared, we can harness the nourishment and strength required to endure our challenges.

We’re excited to share how we plan to measure the power of this community through our 2018 annual goals, and hope you will join us in whatever way best suits your story. 

Read the full March 2018 Newsletter here. Or, better yet, have it sent automatically to your in-box every month.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, Executive Director
*preceding photos by Sun Valley Magazine and Jay Graham


2018 GOALS

Big goals are our North Star. Goals help turn our wildest dreams into action to ensure we have a lasting impact on our community. 

Building on the momentum from last year, we are poised to help more people than ever through the many layers of the good food community.

We’re excited to share our 2018 goals with you so we can continue on this path togetherhelping local families and improving our community.

1. Provide Food Access to 17% of Blaine County population or 3,500 people. 

2. Engage community members in providing 10,000 Volunteer Hours, keeping our organization efficient and saving close to $240,000 in staff time.

3. Work with partners and schools to provide 25 safe, stigma-free access points of healthy food through our Children’s Food Programs.

4. Provide healthy summer meals served to a total of 275 children through our expanded Summer Food Program (Bloom Truck, Lunch in the Park, & Summer Camps).

5. Ensure 100% of mothers who reach out to us have access to vital nutrition for their infants during the first year of their lives through our Infant Formula Program.

6. Build community through food by engaging at least 200 community members at Bloom Community Farm and The Hope Garden for Volunteer for Veggies

Read the complete list of 2018 goals here.

Volunteer for Veggies 2018 Hours

Photo by Karen Bossick

Volunteer for Veggies provides access to fresh, healthy food for everyone in the community. Volunteers take home a share of the farm freshest, nutrient richest, most delicious fruits and veggies around in exchange for their time at Bloom Community Farm or The Hope Garden.

Time on the farm is spent seeding, weeding, and harvesting our growing spaces and we reward all volunteers with a share of produce fresh out of the ground.

Hours for the 2018 season are listed below. While shares of veggies won’t flower until later in the season, we encourage everyone to come out early to get familiar with this beautiful community space.

Bloom Community Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

S. end of Quigley Farm via Fox Acres Rd., Hailey

  • Starting April 17 – Tuesdays, 4:30 – 6 p.m.
  • May – Tuesdays, 4:30 – 6 p.m.; Saturday 2 – 4 p.m.
  • June – Sept – Wednesdays, 8:30 – 10 a.m.; Saturdays, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Oct – Tuesdays, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

The Hope Garden

 

 

 

 

 

The corner of S. 1st Ave. & Walnut St., Hailey

  • Starting April 18 through May – Wednesdays, 4:30 – 6 p.m.
  • June – August – Mondays, 8:30 – 10 a.m; Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
  • September – Mondays, 10 – 11:30; Wednesdays 6:30 – 8 p.m.
  • October – Wednesdays, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

2018 Annual Goals

Photo courtesy of Jay Graham

Big goals are our North Star. Goals help turn our wildest dreams into action to ensure we have a lasting impact on our community.

Building on the momentum from last year, we are poised to help more people than ever through the many layers of the good food community.

We’re excited to share our 2018 goals with you so we can continue on this path together, helping local families and improving our community.

1. Provide Food Access to 17% of Blaine County population or 3,500 people.

2. Engage community members in providing 10,000 Volunteer Hours, keeping our organization efficient and saving close to $240,000 in staff time.

3. Work with partners and schools to provide 25 safe, stigma-free access points of healthy food through our Children’s Food Programs.

4. Provide healthy summer meals served to a total of 275 children through our expanded Summer Food Program (Bloom Truck, Lunch in the Park, & Summer Camps).

5. Ensure 100% of mothers who reach out to us have access to vital nutrition for their infants during the first year of their lives through our Infant Formula Program.

6. Build community through food by engaging at least 200 community members at Bloom Community Farm and The Hope Garden for Volunteer for Veggies.

7. Ensure at least 70% of Bloom Youth Project interns reach their resiliency goal.

8. Engage at least 200 youth and adults in fundamental Nutrition Education that will improve long-term health through nutritious, affordable eating.

9. Rescue a minimum of 75,000 pounds of food through our Food Rescue Program to maximize community resources.

10. Establish a Good Food Fund to which donors may contribute.

11. Engage patrons in 12 Monthly Questionnaires to shape program development and identify advocacy opportunities.

12. Become a Cooking Matters first satellite partner in Idaho and train three community partners to facilitate Cooking Matters and Cooking Matters at the store.

13. Draft a set of Hiring Practices with the aim of diversifying staff to better reflect our community.

14. Conduct a deep audit of our Case Management process to better support community members, including 100% of staff, a minimum of 14 partners and at least 40 patrons.

To review where we landed with our goals from 2017, click here. 

SNAP Decision

STATEMENT OF THE HUNGER COALITION IN OPPOSITION TO BUDGET CUTS IN FEDERAL FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

At The Hunger Coalition, our mission over the past 15 years has been to provide wholesome food to low income families and to promote solutions to the underlying causes of food insecurity through collaboration, education and advocacy.

In support of our mission and on behalf of the community we serve, The Hunger Coalition strongly opposes the steep budget cuts and program revisions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) proposed by the current administration. If enacted as proposed by President Trump, federal food assistance support would decrease by 30% — a deep and devastating cut that will hurt many hundreds of our friends and neighbors in Blaine County who currently rely on SNAP benefits to help feed themselves and their families.

This is no time to cut SNAP benefits. The lines at our food distribution centers are longer than ever this winter, making clear that current SNAP funding is already inadequate to meet the nutritional needs of many members of our community. Based on research in the 2015 Blaine County Community Food Assessment, a family of four has to spend $225 each week to meet their minimum nutrition needs. Current SNAP benefits cover only a portion of those food expenses. These limited SNAP benefits are the only way many people are able to afford to live and work in Blaine County. Virtually all SNAP recipients are seniors, disabled, or working people making insufficient wages – and, of course, many, many children.  

SNAP is a vital part of our community’s safety net. Many people who suffer a financial setback due to an unexpected illness or accident, irregular income from seasonal employment, or the like access SNAP benefits (and/or visit The Hunger Coalition) just until they can get back on their feet.  Severe cuts to SNAP of the type proposed by the Trump Administration will certainly make such recovery much more difficult and time-consuming. When the opportunity for quicker recovery is available, our whole community benefits, not just in improved lives but also in increased economic vitality. 

As generous as our community has been in support of The Hunger Coalition, we will never have the capacity to make up the difference if federal food assistance funding is decreased as the President has proposed. Many of our friends and neighbors whom we all rely upon to make our Sun Valley area special will suffer.

Congress will soon be deciding next year’s SNAP budget.  Please contact our Congressman Mike Simpson and ask him to reject the Administration’s budget proposal and support traditional full funding for SNAP.  You can send a message to Congressman Simpson by calling his office at 202-225-5531 or emailing him through his website: www.simpson.house.gov.

For more information, contact Jeanne Liston at 208-788-0121.

Photo courtesy of Jay Graham Photography

February 2018 Newsletter

In fifteen years, we’ve shared over one million pounds of food with nearly 15,000 people, which are numbers we tend to celebrate. In fact, we recently set a record – but not one worth rejoicing. At the end of January, an all-time record 175 families accessed food from our food pantry in one week. 

It’s pretty common to treat feeding high volumes of local people as an accomplishment. And in a way, it is. The kindness and generosity of our community has ensured everyone who has ever reached out for food was able to fill a grocery cart. Still I believe, with the transformative kindness of our community, we can do even better.

Over the last year, we’ve been asking some uncomfortable questions: Are there ways we’re feeding the problem? Can we do better than the traditional food assistance model? Is there shame written into our message? One thing has been increasingly clear – words matter and we need to be thoughtful in how we use them.

Without question, referring to strong, resilient people as ‘needy’ is demoralizing.  

If your hours are cut, or your car is shot, or maybe childcare, gas, healthcare, utilities, and food are expenses too great to bare – would you look to a group that fights hunger for those in need or one where you can partner to build community through food in a community where your voice is heard and your voice carries? 

As we gain traction in the food justice movement, we are committed to using our words to empower people, to inspire people, and to make radical change. The kindness and generosity of the community is more important than ever as we continue moving toward a just, local food system.

We’re confident the difference will look different and inevitably more beautiful if, instead of feeding the needy, we advocate for food justice side by side with our diverse voices in harmony. 

Read the full February 2018 Newsletter here. Or, better yet, have it sent automatically to your in-box every month.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, Executive Director
*preceding photos by Sun Valley Magazine and Jay Graham


TANIA’S STORY

It’s hard to believe we’re already out recruiting interns for the upcoming season of Bloom Youth Project. As we gear up for another transformational year, we celebrate the story of 2017 grad, Tania, who will be influential to the next season of youth. 

Click here to watch Tania’s one minute story and share the inspiration widely with friends and family. 


THE POWER OF WORDS

Image Source

The conventional language around hunger often paints the picture of helpless people seeking an easy answer, which is painfully misleading. We’ve found this language could very well be perpetuating shame and preventing people from accessing food.

In pursuit of words that nourish and empower, that feed the future of food security, and forever transform our relationship to hunger, we’ve discovered some pretty energizing terms that we’d love to share.

Read more about food justice, access, and equity here. These powerful words will guide our work moving forward and help change the conversation around food security in Blaine County. 

Souper Bowl 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the month leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, local churches rallied to host their own generous answer to game day: The Souper Bowl. St. Thomas Episcopal ChurchOur Lady of the Snows Catholic Church (winners!), Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood, and Wood River Jewish Community faced off to see who could raise the most cans of soup and fill the shelves of The Hunger Coalition’s food pantry.

You know it was a wild success when 1. all the soup driven in by local churches wouldn’t fit in a single photo 2. the first fork lift to the scene wasn’t powerful enough and had to be traded in for a bigger model 3. the soup just might feed the shelves of our food pantry through Souper Bowl 2019. In numbers, it totaled an unbelievable 12,414 cans of soup and weighed in at 9,021 pounds!

We can’t thank participating local churches enough for your outpouring of generosity along with organizer Garry Pearson and the support of Atkinsons’ MarketThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Clearwater Power Equipment, and Professional Roofing of Bellevue! Click here for more photos.