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.

Property Tax Reduction

DEADLINE FOR PROPERTY TAX REDUCTION (aka CIRCUIT BREAKER) APPLICATIONS APRIL 17, 2018

April 17, 2018 is the deadline for filing Property Tax Reduction Applications with the County Assessor’s Office.  Property Tax Reduction (aka Circuit Breaker) applications must be filed each year and can save qualified homeowners up to $1,320 in their annual property tax bill.

Homeowners may qualify for the program if, as of January 1, 2018, they are 65 years of age or older, blind, a widow/widower of any age, recognized as disabled by certain government agencies, a former prisoner of war or hostage, a disabled veteran, or a motherless or fatherless child under 18.

In order to qualify, an applicant’s adjusted gross income for 2017 cannot exceed $30,050 and have a Homeowner’s Exemption for their primary residence.  To be considered for the tax reduction this year, a homeowner must file their application with the County Assessor’s Office between January 1 and April 17, 2018.

To find out if you qualify, please contact the Blaine County Assessor’s Office at the Courthouse Annex, located at 219 S 1st Ave, Ste. 101, Hailey.  Our phone number is:  208-788-5535. Information regarding the program is also available on the State Tax Commission website at https://tax.idaho.gov/i-1051.cfm

The Power of Words

photo by Karen Bossick

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.

Food Justice: The Food Justice movement envisions a food system that is inclusive, community-led and participatory, without the exploitation of people, land, or the environment. It identifies and acts to remove the significant structural inequities that exist within our food and economic systems. Food Justice activists seek to establish healthy, resilient communities with equitable access to nourishing and culturally appropriate food.” – Portland/Multnomah Food Policy Council’s, quote source here

Equity: Food equity means everyone, no matter their [ability, history, ethnicity, race, or class], can access and afford a basic healthy diet and work to support a food system that produces this vision.The Center for Social Inclusion

Photo by Jay Graham

Access: Food access is not simply a health issue but also a community development and equity issue. For this reason, access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food is a key component not only in a healthy, sustainable local food system, but also in a healthy, sustainable community. – American Planning Association

These powerful words will guide our work moving forward and help change the conversation around food security in Blaine County. 

January 2018 Newsletter

Not only am I looking back  on the last year, I’m looking back on the last fifteen. This year marks our fifteenth anniversary as an organization and my, how we’ve grown.  

In fifteen years, you’ve helped us grow from a band-aid, scraping together a few food boxes each month, to a sophisticated movement toward food justice.

Whether it’s in the people we serve, the quality of our programs, or all that springs from The Hope Garden and Bloom Community Farm, our story is defined by growth. Each year, you’ve fed this growth. In fact, in the last quarter of 2017, your generosity helped to accelerate this growth.

The momentum of the last fifteen years made possible a record 2017 where we didn’t simply feed a lot of people, we built community through food. Thinking about how we’ve gotten to this point makes looking ahead that much sweeter. Everything you’ve helped us accomplish to date makes us uniquely positioned to push the envelope this year.

We hope you will join us to kick off the year in support of community with one of the most beloved local events: Empty Bowls.

Your commitment over the years has helped turn the page to such an exciting chapter of our story. Thank you. We look forward to the adventure ahead.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, Executive Director

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


A LOOK BACK AT 2017

photo courtesy of Jay Graham 

2017 was an exceptionally full year. Bags of fresh harvest were filled at the farm while grocery carts were piled high with a colorful array of every food group. From bags and carts to pots and pans to plates and bowls, community tables were full of wholesome food from The Hunger Coalition. Every plant, every veggie, every meal, and every person who accessed our services was supported by community generosity last year.

Just look at the remarkable numbers recorded in 2017 and imagine what more is possible in the coming year.

Thank you to everyone who supported this record year!

Empty Bowls | January 14

Fill a beautiful, handmade bowl with scratch-made soup, salads, and desserts from local chefs to support access to good food for all people in Blaine County. A gift of $20 includes a ceramic bowl and all you can eat with 100% of proceeds benefiting The Hunger Coalition.

The event is sponsored by Boulder Mountain Clayworks and hosted by Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood. Hope to see you there!

Big thanks to participating restaurants: Atkinson’sBig Belly DeliBigwood BreadCK’s Real FoodThe Grill at Knob HillThe HavenKetchum Grill, Mahoney’sPerry’sRasberrys, StarbucksSun Valley Company, Vintage, Warfield, and many more.

December 2017 Newsletter

It’s always an honor to tell you about the impact you’re making. And after a year like this, there’s a lot to tell. But I’m even more excited to show you a beautiful example of the radical growth our community made possible this year. 

Bloom Youth Project forever changed the lives of local teens who forever changed the lives of their neighbors.

Their stories haven’t always been easy, but their resilience is profound. Please watch the accomplishments of Bloom Youth Graduates: Ciera, Savannah, Tania, Diego, Maryanna, Matt, Peter, and Blade.

In this season that sparkles and shines with gratitude and good cheer, I’m especially grateful for the traction of an equitable food movement in Blaine County.

We still have a long way to go to redefine food security in our community, but this year laid the groundwork for something extraordinary. 

Your gifts power the movement and ensure everyone in Blaine County has a seat at the table. Please consider giving the gift of good food this holiday season.

Wishing you and yours a very merry holiday.

Read the full December 2017 newsletter here. Or, better yet, have it sent automatically to your in-box every month.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, executive director
*photo courtesy of Sun Valley Magazine


BLOOM YOUTH (VIDEO) PROJECT

Bloom Youth Project interns grew by leaps and bounds over the course of the seven month internship. They tell their stories here in a moving feature by Dark2Light Productions and starring interns Ciera, Savannah, Tania, Diego, Maryanna, Matt, Peter, and Blade and their dynamic leader, Megan Schooley. 

If you’re adverse to strong feelings of joy and hope for the future, proceed with caution.

Bloom Youth Project is a paid internship for local teens with promise that empowers interns to manage food production at Bloom Community Farm and share what they harvest with their neighbors.


$5,955 LEFT ON THE WAY TO $40,000!

The gift of good food for a local family provides more warmth than a new scarf, more quality time than a new watch, and more cheer than a glass of egg nog. Give the gift of good food on behalf of a loved one this season to share joy and good will throughout our community. 

Donate online here or call 208-788-0121 to give the gift of good food and ensure everyone in Blaine County has a seat at the table. We will send a holiday card to the person you’re giving the gift in honor of to announce your generosity and thoughtfulness.

Through December 31, any gift you make is matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000 to double your impact and feed twice as many families this season. 

Thanksgiving Baskets 2017

 

Happy Thanksgiving from The Hunger Coalition! On Monday, November 20 (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. Full story here: http://www.mtexpress.com/wood_river_journal/features/volunteers-put-the-giving-in-holiday/article_dc838fce-cf06-11e7-842c-9bcf5cd057d3.html

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

+ The Sage School for coordinating our Thanksgiving food drive – collecting and delivering all the food

+ Thanksgiving food drive contributors: Sun Valley Company, POWER Engineers, Rocky Mountain Hardware, Sothebys Real Estate
+ 450 Homemade pies were made by Pioneer Montessori School, Sage School led by Starr Weekes, and Syringa Mountain School 
+ Albertsons who donated 160 Thanksgiving meals with funds raised by the community
+ Higher Ground whose entire staff volunteered and delivered 390 turkeys
BCRD who let us use the gym 
+ Community Library and Hailey Public Library who handed out free books to all of the children
+ Volunteer team leaders – Laurie and Matt Christian, Tony Knapp, and Jenna Resko and the 75 volunteers who made sure the entire effort ran smooth
+ Sage School students also made 150 cards, a Sage School mother made 80 more herself, the families of Sherri Ditch and Carey Thaxton also made cards  
+ Teresa Gregory and Juan Servin were especially helpful at the Community Campus

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

November 2017 Newsletter

In a small community, we are uniquely connected to each other. The trouble with being closely connected is you may know someone who is facing unthinkable obstacles.

Roughly 1 in 3 Blaine County locals have a hard time putting good food on the table. These are people you see every day who serve you coffee, cut your hair, teach your kids, even keep you safe from fires who quietly struggle to feed their families.

With your help, this can change. The beauty of a small town is that your gift of good food can transform the lives of those who touch your own life every day. 

Our new 2017 Donor Impact Report illustrates the profound impact your gifts have on local people and the future of food security in Blaine County.

This time of year, there is so much to be thankful for and so many opportunities to give back. If you haven’t already, we hope you will consider the gift of good food. Right now you can double your donation through our year-end appeal and support programs that will forever transform the landscape of food security in Blaine County.

Thank you for your generosity and enjoy the holiday season!

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, executive director

Read the full November 2017 newsletter here. Or, better yet, have it sent automatically to your in-box every month.


THE HUNGER COALITION YEAR END APPEAL

Give to make our community ties stronger and ensure everyone in Blaine County has a seat at the table.

Generous donors have offered to match any gift up to $20,000 to double your impact and feed twice as many people this season.


AN ALL NEW DONOR IMPACT REPORT

Click here to read up on the many ways your support of The Hunger Coalition is helping positively impact the lives of our neighbors

October 2017 Newsletter

There’s an uncomfortable fact of life in our community: slack season is hurting our working class. After a summer of empowering food support programs and shared abundance, the harsh reality of slack season has surfaced in our food bank lines.

From the beginning of September to the end, we saw a 48% increase in people needing food. These are local construction workers, landscapers, child care workers, and hospitality professionals – people you rely on who also need your support this season. As we enter a challenging time of year for our neighbors, the generosity and hope of those committed to the cause help keep us moving forward.

There are several opportunities to help. Your gifts are invested in food and support programs to provide immediate relief for struggling families. Volunteers walk people through our food bank lines, distribute holiday meals, rescue food from local grocers, and bring meals and snacks to hungry children. Local groups and organizations facilitate food drives to help fill our shelves. You too can advance this humbling community effort to ensure no one in Blaine County goes hungry.

Thank you to everyone who continues to help support this critical mission. 

Read the full October 2017 Newsletter here. Or, better yet, have it sent automatically to your in-box every month.

With Gratitude,

Jeanne Liston, executive director


FROM THE FIELD


photo by Judy Cahill

As the days cool down, we reflect on an amazing growing season. This season, our community harvested over 7,500 pounds of fresh fruits and veggies (and counting!) from Bloom Community Farm and The Hope Garden. To think, this time last year, we were excited to report a respectable 1,300 pounds of harvest.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this remarkable growth possible. To the many volunteers, including 224 Volunteer for Veggies participants, partners, donors, and staff who joined together around good food and, as a result, strengthened our community. 

BLOOM YOUTH PROJECT

It seems like only yesterday Bloom Youth Project interns first set foot on Bloom Community Farm, a little green, not knowing exactly what to expect. Six months later, they’ve far exceeded our expectations.

Megan Schooley, Bloom Youth program director said, “The interns have really impressed us. There’s so much to be proud of. They’ve all come forward with a real skill set, compassion, leadership and professionalism.”

As their internship winds to a close, Bloom Youth have been drafting future dreams and considering their next direction. When asked what he would want to learn from a future career, potentially in teaching, Matt said, “Anything and everything! I love learning and am constantly pushing myself to experience and educate – because even teaching is a learning experience.”

photos by Judy Cahill & Charlotta Harris