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.

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.