SNAP Decision


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:

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

Photo courtesy of Jay Graham Photography

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.

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!


Sage School Gleaning Day 2014_lowres

the Sage School students rescue thousands of pounds of fruit from local trees for The Hunger Coalition every year. This fruit gets distributed at our weekly food distributions and is now stored in our expanded walk-in refrigerator space thanks to the Walmart Foundation grant! 


The Hunger Coalition Receives a $27,750 Grant for Food Rescue Programs

The Hunger Coalition recently received a $27,750 grant from the Walmart Foundation in support of their Food Rescue Program. The funding will be used to acquire the storage and food processing units necessary to ensure they never turn away fresh food donations for hungry families.

Through expansion of existing refrigeration, installation of a new walk-in freezer and the purchase of commercial grade food drier and food sealer, the Walmart Foundation funding will aid The Hunger Coalition in meeting their ambition food rescue goals. The new equipment will allow for the safe handling and storage of an unprecedented amount of rescued food.  The Hunger Coalition plans to rescue 75,000 pounds of food this year by gleaning local fruit trees, harvesting excess produce from local gardens and recovering foods from local grocery stores. Continue reading

Grants received from Wood River Women’s Foundation for Bloom


bloom_logo_orangeThe Hunger Coalition and The Community Library both received grants from the Wood River Women’s Foundation, a Philanthropic Gift Fund of the Idaho Community Foundation. Grants were given to support the Bloom trailer program which provides free, healthy sack lunches from The Hunger Coalition and library books from The Community Library to children living in outlying areas in the valley.

The foundation provided an overall grant of $27,000, with $18,180 going to The Hunger Coalition and $8,820 to The Community Library.

IMG_2346Bloom opens up such wonderful opportunities to impact lives,” said Jeanne Liston, Executive Director of The Hunger Coalition.  “Reaching kids in isolated neighborhoods with nourishing food feeds young bodies.  The added partnership with The Community Library is feeding young minds. Both are critical in helping children blossom and grow.”

With the addition of Bloom, The Hunger Coalition’s Summer Food Program fed 95% more kids this June compared to the prior year. In addition, 16 local partner organizations have jumped on board to provide free activities, including 4-H, the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, the Forest Service and more.

Jenny Emery Davidson, Executive Director of The Community Library states, “We are excited by this collaborative outreach program that is helping The Community Library extend its summer reading program to even more children in our rural mountain area. By bringing books and activities to kids in their own neighborhoods, we hope to enrich their summers and inspire them to lives full of learning!”

Through Bloom, just in its first month on the road, 134 children have gotten new library cards, and they have checked out 532 books. That is a lot of reading happening in neighborhoods from Carey to North Fork!

With the support of organizations like the Wood River Women’s Foundation, The Hunger Coalition and The Community Library can ensure our community’s children have a real chance at becoming healthy, productive adults.

The Hunger Coalition strives to end hunger in our community by providing wholesome food to those in need and by promoting solutions to the underlying causes of hunger through collaboration, education and advocacy. For more information, visit

The Community Library brings information, ideas, and individuals together to enhance the cultural life of our community. We work to promote literacy, encourage community conversations, provide contemplative space, foster creativity, and deepen a sense of place in central Idaho.

The Hunger Coalition to start a Community Farm

IMG_3504The Hunger Coalition broke ground in June for a community farm. Located in Quigley Canyon east of Hailey, Bloom Community Farm will provide many opportunities for youth and adults through growing and accessing healthy, local food. The farm will start as a half-acre pilot program and increase to 1 ½ acres in subsequent years. There are a total of five acres available for future use thanks to Quigley Farm, who is leasing the land for $1 per year to The Hunger Coalition.
Modeled on existing successful programs across the country, such as Volunteering for Veggies, Discount Mobile Markets for seniors, and sliding scale Community Supported Agriculture, Bloom Community Farm will help The Hunger Coalition craft new programs to meet the changing needs of individuals and families in Blaine County.

“These types of programs provide multiple avenues for community members to access the healthy food they deserve,” said Lynea Petty, Food Production Manager at The Hunger Coalition.

In 2017, The Hunger Coalition will also implement a youth-focused growing program with teens working on the farm. “With the youth piece of the program, we hope to develop resiliency, foster life skills, and teach coping mechanisms to local youth to help them blossom into healthy, contributing community members,” said Jeanne Liston, Executive Director of The Hunger Coalition.

“The Bloom Community Farm hopes to nurture our community by bringing people together in a family-friendly environment and to connect with the land,” said Naomi Spence, Associate Director. “It’s a ‘good for you place’, providing a gathering place for community members to meet around food, get their hands dirty, and get back to the basics of growing food,” added Spence.

The Hunger Coalition hopes that Bloom Community Farm will provide a place for diverse partnerships with local organizations and continued expansion of food production programs supporting the health and well-being of all community members and their families. They are eager to build upon their successes in emergency food assistance by expanding their programming to reach a broader community.

The Hunger Coalition is seeking volunteers to assist with the startup of Bloom Community Farm. Volunteer needs range from fence and structure building to weeding and bed planting and provide a great opportunity to get the whole family involved. Call Rachel Shinn, Volunteer Manager at 788-0121 or email The farm is located at the south side of Quigley Canyon, past Wood River High School at the end of Fox Acres Rd.

The public will be invited to join The Hunger Coalition for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October during Idaho Hunger Awareness Month. Stay tuned!

“Fresh Bucks” doubles SNAP recipients’ dollars at local farmers’ markets

106_smOnce again, The Hunger Coalition and the Wood River Farmers’ Markets are teaming up to increase access to fresh, locally grown food for those in need with Fresh Bucks.

Using Fresh Bucks, people can purchase fresh food at the Ketchum and Hailey Farmers’ Markets with their SNAP dollars. With the help from local sponsors, Fresh Bucks money will be doubled, up to $20 per week.  For individuals living on a tight food budget, this will allow their $20 SNAP dollars to become $40 worth of fresh, healthy food. This offer will be available to participants weekly while funds last.

“This is a chance for community members living on a tight budget to double their SNAP dollars and access fresh, local produce at our farmers’ markets through the Fresh Bucks program,” said Jeanne Liston, Executive Director. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to participate in the energetic farmers’ market atmosphere and support local farmers. Continue reading

Summer Food Program ’16 Starts June 20

Are yoIMG_2338u wondering how to keep your kids fed this summer when school is out? Bring them to the Balmoral play field in Hailey for a free, healthy sack lunch every day this summer!

Thanks to The Hunger Coalition, Blaine County School District and community volunteers, Lunch in the Park offers free sack lunches to kids 18 and under throughout the summer. Beginning Monday, June 20, free sack lunches are available weekdays from 12pm – 1pm through August 19 at the Balmoral play field in Hailey. Parents or guardians can purchase a lunch for $1.

“When school ends, hunger begins for many local children who rely on school lunch as the one meal a day they can count on,” said Naomi Spence, Associate Director of The Hunger Coalition. “That’s why we started the Lunch in the Park program as a way for kids to come together, get a free, healthy sack lunch, play in the park and enjoy their summer,” she added.  Continue reading

Bloom Trailer!

“Bloom” trailer brings fresh food and inspiring books to kids in outlying areas

This Bloom_smallsummer you may see a big orange “Bloom” trailer traveling the valley. Bloom is a food truck and mobile library designed to provide access to the critical nutrition and education
opportunities that all children in our valley need and deserve.

This trailer will be full of healthy, local food (prepared by the Wood River Sustainability Center) and books available for checkout (from The Community Library) for children who live on the outskirts of our small towns, removed from the abundance of available resources.

Bloom is funded in large part by the generosity of the Nancy Eccles & Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation, the Peco Foundation and a recently awarded grant from the Wood River Women’s Foundation.

Bloom will connect children to books and learning and also provide a free, nutritious lunch to those who are often left without access to healthy foods and summer activities. Continue reading

Annual Spring Corporate Food Drive Brings in Needed Food!

Spring is quicspringcorporatefooddrivekly approaching in our valley and that means it’s time for The Hunger Coalition to partner with local businesses for the annual Spring Corporate Food Drive.

From April 4 -15, 2016, Atlantic Aviation, High Country Fusion, Idaho Mountain Express, Marketron, POWER Engineers, Redfish Technology, St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center, Sun Valley Resort, Cold Springs CrossingSawtooth Animal Center and Zenergy will be competing to bring The Hunger Coalition non-perishable foods and financial contributions. The business that brings in the most donations will be awarded the coveted Golden Can Award!


“The Spring Corporate Food Drive comes at a critical time for The Hunger Coalition,” stated Jeanne Liston, Executive Director.  “We continue to see some of the highest numbers of people receiving food assistance in the history of our organization.”  Statistics indicate the need for food assistance across the state and country is increasing, despite improvements in the economy.  “While 80% of our clients are working at least one job, many just don’t earn enough to make ends meet due to low wages.  The food received from the Spring Corporate Food Drive will help dramatically and be distributed immediately.” Continue reading