April Newsletter

jeanne_liston_fall3_2016There’s some truth to time is money. Collectively, our mighty team of volunteers invest nearly $200,000 worth of their time per year. But volunteers provide something more powerful than savings. The amount of heart our volunteers invest in The Hunger Coalition is immeasurable. 

You can’t calculate how many of our neighbors’ worst days have been eased by the kindness of a volunteer. There’s no way to quantify the taste of a good meal after days on an empty stomach shared by someone who cares. A formula won’t tell you the value of a smile, a laugh, or an open heart, but we can. We’ve seen firsthand the remarkable impact volunteers have on those struggling in our community. 

These moments are what make volunteers some of the most admirable, selfless, extraordinary people in Blaine County. We are grateful every day of the year, but for Volunteer Appreciation Month, we want to take a special moment to share our gratitude with you.

In the midst of hunger season, a time when donations subside along with employment, we are especially grateful for the commitment of our volunteers who help better the lives of our neighbors in need.

Thank you to everyone who has served and continues to serve at The Hunger Coalition to make our community a better place for all people.

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

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Month!

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, executive director


The Hunger Coalition wouldn’t be what it is today without the support of volunteer, Katie Rousey (pictured right). Katie has been volunteering for over five years, and has helped make our food distribution a warm and welcoming place. She cultivates invaluable relationships with our neighbors in need and is simply a delight to be around.

Katie writes, “Volunteering is the highlight of my week. It’s a very good feeling to be helping with such an endeavor, and I’m proud to be a part of the team!”

The feeling is mutual. Rachel Shinn, volunteer manager for The Hunger Coalition, said, “In the five years Katie’s been volunteering, she’s certainly become a part of the family. Each week, she shows up to help distribute food to families and individuals in our community.  Our clients have come to rely on her reassuring smile, dynamic sense of humor, and a friendly conversation about produce, pets, kids or just life in general. She’s such an important member of the community and we’re so grateful she shares her time with The Hunger Coalition!

Thank you, Katie! We are truly grateful to have you on the team.


What makes The Hope Garden and Bloom Community Farm grow? Our productive annual harvest is largely thanks to the toil and talent of our volunteers, including the wonderful, Barbara Kuhn. Barbara started as a volunteer, bringing Daily Bites to local students. As an avid gardener, she eventually found a fit at Bloom Community Farm.

At the Farm, Barbara helped maintain perennial plantings, which are important for feeding bees and keeping plants pollinated. Not to mention, she weeded a ton and helped mulch a row of carrots, which is no easy feat. Lynea Petty, food production manager said, “I appreciated Barbara’s hard work and her passion for getting stuff done for our community!”

Thank you, Barbara for your commitment to giving back and growing food security for our neighbors.

March 2017 Newsletter

jeanne_liston_fall3_2016Big challenges can be overcome by small acts of kindness

Whether it’s the low to no wages of slack, the high cost of winter, or an unexpected crisis, hunger is a challenge twelve months a year.

One of the most powerful and efficient ways you can help local families in urgent need is with a monthly gift. Take it from non-profit strategy consultant, Zana Davey, monthly giving programs are convenient and rewarding. Your small, enduring acts of kindness can move mountains.

To up the ante, local supporters Michael & Esther Ochsman will make your gift even more powerful with a match of up to $5,000 for anyone joining or increasing their monthly support through our Open Hands ClubNow you can give twice as much, every month!

Little by little, month by month, every drop in the bucket will eventually fill the well. We hope you will consider joining our monthly giving club to help local families, every month, every season of the year.

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

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, executive director


Introducing, Zana Davey, non-profit strategy consultant, former Hunger Coalition Board youth representative, and our youngest Open Hands Club member. In high school, Zana joined The Hunger Coalition board to share her fresh perspective and advance the well-being of her neighbors. Less than a decade later, she’s made a life of social good, empowering non-profits to be all they can be.

Gratitude inspires Zana’s giving. She said, “I’m just so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been afforded in my own life, giving back is how I express my gratitude.” She joined The Hunger Coalition’s Open Hands Club to help provide  sustainable support for her hometown and “because an automated, monthly donation makes it so easy and takes all the work out of giving.Thank you, Zana for all you do to make our world a better place!



Congratulations to the graduates of our recent Cooking Matters® for Elders course, in partnership with The Idaho Foodbank. For many students, graduation was just a stepping stone to continuing education. The group learned so much and had such a great time, they organized subsequent feasts to continue putting their new skills to good use and sharing what they learn with friends and family.

A daughter of one of the students said, “My mom and her friend took this class and they absolutely loved it! My family got to reap the benefits, as my mom made us one of the recipes over the weekend and it was delicious!”

Thank you students, volunteers, St. Luke’s Wood River Nutritionist, Sarah Seppa, Esta of Esta at Club 511The Idaho FoodbankSt. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, Valley of Peace Lutheran Church, Pastor Jerry Reinke and The Hunger Coalition‘s Sharon Dohse who made it all possible.


Our first series of Financial Literacy workshops was one fiscally responsible party after another. Led by Gus O’Neill, client resource & outreach coordinator, the series helped students learn to better navigate their finances and maximize their budget

Gus said, “Wow, these ladies rock! Their motivation to work toward financial independence brought me joy teaching the class. I hope future students demonstrate such a commitment to learning and personal growth.”

February 2017 Newsletter

jeanne_liston_fall3_2016Big goals are our North Star.
Goals help turn our wildest dreams into action to ensure we have a lasting impact on our community.

Your generosity gives life to big goals. 

This time last year, Bloom was a wild dream. With heart, grit, long hours, and your support, we harvested nearly 1,000 lbs of food from Bloom Community Farm and served 144 children lunch from the Bloom Trailer, all through a program that was just a question mark on our chalkboard less than a year ago.

You made this possible.

Setting goals for 2017 fed the fire in our hearts. Building on the momentum from last year, we are poised to help more people than ever, in brand new ways. If the response from our Empty Bowls event or Naomi Spence’s Women’s March speech is any indication, 2017 is going to be productive. Thank you to everyone who has already rallied for food security.

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

Join us to make sure no one in Blaine County goes hungry

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, Executive Director

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


Presenting The Hunger Coalition’s 2017 goals: 

1. To continue to answer the need by providing food assistance for 17% of Blaine County or 3,500 people.

2. Engage community members to provide 8,000 volunteer hours, keeping our organization efficient.

3. Work with partner advocates involved in our Snack Pack Program to provide 6,250 snack packs to 200 students.

4. Increase healthy summer meals served to a total of 275 children through our expanded Summer Food Program: Bloom, Lunch in the Park, and 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. Provide two opportunities per week at Bloom Community Farm and The Hope Garden for Volunteer for Veggies during the growing season.

7. Run an 18-week Mobile Market for low income seniors and other vulnerable populations, offering food and nutrition education for a minimum of 25 people weekly.

8. Provide a platform for 10 partner groups at Bloom Community Farm and three groups at The Hope Garden to achieve mutual community wellness goals.

9. Engage up to 75 youth and adults in comprehensive Nutrition Education that will improve long-term health through nutritious, affordable eating.

10. Rescue a minimum of 85,000 pounds of food through our Food Rescue Program to feed the hungry, reduce food waste, and maximize community resources.


The conversation around living wage is one that often gets lost in variables. Since Naomi Spence’s stirring speech at the Women’s March in Ketchum, we’ve been asked what exactly constitutes a livable wage in Blaine County? To help bring clarity to the conversation, Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) developed a resource that calculates living wage across the country. The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage, and poverty wages for the selected location. Click here to calculate the living wage for Blaine County.

Over 3,500 people in our community rely on food assistance, most of whom work, but make less than the livable wage in Blaine County. While we are committed to providing food for these families, another part of our mission is to address the underlying causes of hunger. We move to open the dialogue around the local living wage so together, we can better solve the problems that plague our neighbors.

Contact Naomi at 788-0121 or nspence@thehungercoalition.org to join the conversation.

January 2017 Newsletter

Looking back on 2016, we marvel at the depth and strength of your compassion. It’s a humbling reminder of the power of collective good.Because of your support, we are making a seismic shift in how we resolve food insecurity this year.

A movement is afoot. Bloom Community Farmand the Bloom Trailer will redefine how we perceive hunger, how we address hunger, and how our neighbors rise out of hunger. Your continued support is paramount to the success of this movement. Your time, your ideas, your passion, your gifts will help feed more families in revolutionary new ways.

Just look at the remarkable numbers written by your generosity in 2016 and imagine what more is possible in the coming year.

  • The Mobile Food Bank distributed 6,063  healthy food boxes to 1,533 community members who are struggling.
  • Over 6,250 Snack Packs were given out to almost 210 school kids, to ensure they don’t go hungry on the weekends.
  • More than 4,300 lunches and snacks were distributed this summer though our Summer Food Program.
  •  2,835 bottles worth of formula were distributed through our Infant Formula Initiative.
  • Families were able to keep their pets thanks to the “Paws for Hunger” program, in association with the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley. This year, a record 1,139 bags of pet food were distributed.
  • Over 7,500 pounds of fruit and vegetables were gleaned from local trees last year!

We enter hunger season hopeful that with our collective efforts, we can bring light to our neighbors’ darkest days and move forward together, in health and happiness.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, Executive Director

Read the full January newsletter here. Or, better yet, get it automatically in your in-box every month. We won’t spam you with tons of emails.. just one a month, for you to keep up on what’s shaking at THC!


We hope to see you at the 7th annual Empty Bowls event to enjoy great food and great art on behalf ofThe Hunger Coalition. Purchase a handmade ceramic bowl for $20 and fill it with soup, chili, salad, bread, and dessert made by local chefs! All proceeds benefit The Hunger Coalition.

This signature Wood River event is made possible by the collaboration of Boulder Mountain Clayworks,Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood, and The Hunger Coalition. If you can’t attend, you can donate $20 here to support those in need and write Empty Bowls in the notes section.


Without the thousands of volunteer hours and generous donations from the community, plates would be empty, children would go to bed hungry, and life in Blaine County would be impossible for our neighbors in need.

To all of our donors, volunteers, and community members who spark the magic in our mission, we are thrilled to share our end of the year thank you video with you.

Special thanks to Dark to Light Productions for the video production toolkit, education, and encouragement.

Empty Bowls: January 15

emptybowls_2017_poster-iiiiWe hope to see you at the 7th annual Empty Bowls event to enjoy great food and great art on behalf of The Hunger Coalition. Purchase a handmade ceramic bowl for $20 and fill it with soup, chili, salad, bread, and dessert made by local chefs! All proceeds benefit The Hunger Coalition.

This signature Wood River event is made possible by the collaboration of Boulder Mountain Clayworks, Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood, and The Hunger Coalition.

Empty Bowls is held at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood’s cafeteria and features gourmet soups, crisp salads, hearty chili, fresh breads and delicious desserts from local restaurants and caterers including: Big Belly Deli, Bigwood Bread, CK’s Real Food, Cornerstone, Esta, The Grill at Knob Hill, Globus, The Haven, Ketchum Grill, Mahoney’s, Perry’s, Rasberrys, Starbucks, Sun Valley Company, Vingtage and many more.

Can’t go? Donate $20 here to support those in need and write Empty Bowls in the notes section.

Thank you Boulder Mountain Clayworks & Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood for your tremendous support!

December 2016 Newsletter

jeanne_liston_fall3_2016This season has a certain sparkle. It is composed of everything that shines from humankind: love, generosity, togetherness, family, and joy. While so many hearts are full this time of year, so many too are wishing to experience the spirit of the season, without the means to do so.

This is when it’s so important that you act on behalf of your neighbors. The joy of the season is shattered when you have to choose between paying a utility bill or feeding your family.

You can help end these impossible choices with a gift to The Hunger Coalition. Your gift goes twice as far and feeds twice as many families thanks to a matching gift of up to $20,000!

We deeply appreciate everyone who has already helped. The true spirit of the season filled the Community Campus during our Thanksgiving Basket distribution. Individuals, families, local businesses, and organizations worked together to provide a meaningful holiday for those who would otherwise be without.

If you haven’t already, there are still more ways to make a difference. Help us ensure that everyone enjoys the spirit of the season.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, Executive Director


We are nearly halfway to our matching gift challenge goal! A generous donor has offered to match any gift up to $20,000 to double your impact. Donate to our Matching Gift Challenge by December 31 to feed twice as many families.

Your gift of $50 becomes $100 to enroll Erik in our Cooking Matters® for Teens class where he will develop critical life skills in cooking and nutrition.

A $100 donation becomes $200 which provides Monica and her two children enough groceries for one month through our Mobile Food Bank.

Your gift of $250 becomes $500 to give Steven an invaluable learning experience as a Bloom Community Farm intern.

Be sure to note Matching Challenge 2016 on your check or in the personal notes section online to double your gift.


It takes a valley to give each and everyone a happy holiday. In a remarkable coming together, our community provided nearly 350 Thanksgiving meals to local families in Blaine County.

One parent said of their basket, “My husband is laid off for the winter, making me the sole provider in our household. I don’t make enough to buy a turkey dinner for my children. With your help, we can still gather around the table and share in the tradition and warmth of Thanksgiving. Thank you.”

We’re not short on folks to be thankful for who made this amazing day possible. Big thanks to Albertsons who raised a record $11,683 through community donations to fund over 200 meals. Click here for more photos and a list of everyone who made the day extra special.


We are beaming with pride for our eloquent, inspiring, fearless leader whose message from TEDxSunValley still echoes throughout the Valley. Jeanne Liston, executive director of The Hunger Coalition, shared her big ideas in Feeding Communities From the Ground Up to an audience of 200 at the Sun Valley Opera House.

She said of the experience,”It’s our hope that other communities may see this talk and be inspired to adopt some of our innovative approaches to ensure everyone has access to healthy food.”  

Way to go, Jeanne! For more information, visit www.tedxsunvalley.com.

Read the full December newsletter here. Or, better yet, get it automatically in your in-box every month. We won’t spam you with tons of emails.. just one a month, for you to keep up on what’s shaking at THC!

The Many Courses of Cooking Matters

In collaboration with the Idaho Foodbank and made possible by the generosity of St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, The Hunger Coalition partnered with Silver Creek High School to take students on a multi-course adventure in cooking. The Cooking Matters class began with education in nutrition and hands-on cooking skills, involved a field trip to Atkinson’s Market where students took on the $10 challenge, and culminated in a cooking competition, complete with local chefs at the judges table. Impressed by the students’ talent, Chef Kate Metzger from Il Naso graciously invited the class into her kitchen so they could experience a professional kitchen firsthand.

The Hunger Coalition’s educator in residence, Sharon Dohse expressed how valuable Cooking Matters was to the students. She said, “The most amazing part of this class is the focus, intention, and collaboration that happens among the students. This year I witnessed problem-solving and self-evaluation on a higher level. Our judges panel asked hard questions, gave in-depth feedback, and shared more information about their personal rise to being a head chef.”

img_20161026_132742034 img_20161026_133203048 img_20161026_133256984 img_20161026_133340078 img_20161102_132957389 img_20161102_133013122 img_20161102_133910314 img_20161102_135124700 2016-11-15-11-20-28 2016-11-15-11-25-42 2016-11-15-11-27-54 2016-11-15-11-40-47 2016-11-15-11-47-27

Thanksgiving Baskets 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from The Hunger Coalition! On Monday, November 21 (and the days leading up to), local businesses, organizations, individuals, and families came together for the greater good: to ensure every family in need had a warm, full holiday meal to share with their loved ones.

Locals donated food, funds, and their time to make this important day possible. We are thankful for everyone involved:

Albertsons Market
The Sage School & Starr Weekes
Pioneer Montessori School
Syringa Mountain School
The Community School
Sherri Wakefield & Family
Teresa Englehart, Krista Felton & the LDS 2nd Ward Youth Groups
Gabbie Diedrick’s Hailey Elementary 2nd Grade class
Ginger Spence
Elizabeth Sturgess’s GATE class, Alturas and Bellevue
Silver Creek High School
Wood River High School
VOICE II students
Coldwell Banker Volunteers
Higher Ground
Wells Fargo Hailey Branch
Tony Knapp
Laurie Swall Christian
Matt Christian
Joanie Whitcomb Rumpeltes
Johnny Servin & Family
Irma Reigle
John and Christina Calvert
Antonio Munoz
Rob & Amy Swanson
Jim, Cliff, and Christie Graham & Family
Jenna Resko
Cecilee Torres & Family
Bellevue Library & The Community Library
Atkinsons’ Market

and to everyone who so generously donated the funds to provide these holiday meals to our neighbors in need!

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November 2016 e-Newsletter

jliston 8-14As we near the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re profoundly grateful for your support while reminded of the cardinal rule…to wait to eat until everyone is served.

To this end, we’ve grown our programs to ensure everyone has access to the healthy food they deserve. More than ever, we look to your support to continue to extend our reach

This year, we’ve fed all-time record numbers of people six out of the last 10 months. Thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to meet the need. In addition, we added the Bloom trailer and Bloom Community Farm to break down the obstacles preventing our neighbors from accessing food assistance. It is an extraordinarily exciting time to be involved with our organization.

Join us in ensuring this holiday time of joy, togetherness, and gratitude is shared throughout the communityClick here to make a gift to provide food and hope to your neighbors this holiday season.  

With Gratitude,
Jeanne Liston, Executive Director


As Bloom Community Farm goes into hibernation for the winter, we reflect fondly on a momentous first season and look forward to all that lies ahead. Thank you to the over 250 people who joined us to celebrate at our appreciation party and ribbon cutting ceremony last month! We are still beaming from the incredible response and what fun we had.Click here for more photos of the evening.

We would also like to thank some of our community farm hands who have helped make our first growing season tremendously successful

Donny McQuarry provided hoops for the season extension

Nate Twitchell and Dane Thompson helped build our new greenhouse

Brian Trejo helped us winterize the Farm

Meanwhile, at The Hope Garden, local students are making an impact. Thank you:

Sage School students volunteered to close up and clean up the Garden for the season

Elementary School Teachers helped organize Hope Garden adventures for local elementary school students 


We are thrilled to announce that our Executive Director, Jeanne Liston will be sharing her own, “ideas worth spreading” at the inaugural TEDx Sun Valley on November 30th. At a TEDx event, speakers come together to spark deep discussion and connection. Jeanne will discuss the innovative new programs at The Hunger Coalition, built to revolutionize how we address food insecurity in our community. Click here to read her blog post and for more info.

Read the full November newsletter here. Or, better yet, get it automatically in your in-box every month. We won’t spam you with tons of emails.. just one a month, for you to keep up on what’s shaking at THC!