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.


AMBITION TO FRUITION 

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.


RAISING THE BAR

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.

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!

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.”

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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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Bloom Farm: Twine Cutting Ceremony & Appreciation Party

We had an incredible night at the Bloom Farm Twine Cutting Ceremony & Appreciation Party. Our deepest thanks goes out to our volunteers from Wells Fargo bank,  Al McCord of the Wood River Sustainability Center for the best ever rescued vegetable soup, D. L. Evans Bank for your sponsorship, Hal Jardine of the Ram Restaurant at Sun Valley Co. for the amazing appetizers, Sawtooth Brewery for the keg of favorite local beer, Chase Hamilton and S&C Wines for the mighty fine wine, the Hurdy Gurdy Girls and their rowdy strings, Charlotta Harris for capturing the evening in the photos below, Lance Thompson for help parking, the help of Mike McKenna to make the keg come alive, Matt Spence for collecting rocks and hanging signs, the fun and compassionate crowd, and the Bloom team (board and staff) for tying it all together.

Monumental thanks to everyone who had a hand in making the Bloom Community Farm Ribbon Cutting & Appreciation Party wildly successful.

Here’s what the night looked like:

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Improved Digs – 2016 Remodel

clearwater thanks

Our temporary office space, courtesy of Clearwater Landscaping.

Tear down and framing of THC remodeled offices.

Tear down and framing of THC remodeled offices.

We are growing and to help with this growth, we needed to reconfigure our offices.

John Rowland, from deRess Architects stepped up to the plate and helped us reconfigure or offices to utilize the space more efficiently. John (and deReus) drew the architectural drawings at no cost! Thank you John and deReus Architects!

Empty offices and frame work.

Empty offices and frame work.

Three offices became five offices.

Three offices became five offices.

Lee Gilman Builders also stepped up to the plate during the beginning of summer with a full schedule of jobs. They fit us in in-between jobs and helped find subcontractors – many of whom donated all or a portion of their time, materials and efforts. Thank you Matt Spence and Lee Gilman Builders for building us such a beautiful office!

Clearwater Landscaping welcomed us with open arms to their offices across the street from us. They gave us a beautiful, air-conditioned space to work from and for our twice-weekly staff meetings.

Radiant Foil – Art Carlson donated 100% labor and all materials for insulation

JE Drywall – Supplied drywall and materials at cost

View Point Windows & Doors – Donated 100% materials

AC Houston – Supplied materials at cost

C&R Electric – Electrician

CJ’s Heating & Air Conditioning

Jay Hedrick – Painting

Apex Plumbing – Rod Sisk plumber

Town Refrigeration – Warehouse refrigeration

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Finished product! Meeting area.

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Finished product! Meeting area, conference table, new offices, some with standing stations (back left corner)! Much better use of our space!

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Finished product – more open receiving area – sharing heat and air throughout the office.

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Finished product! A beautiful light blue colored walls and white trim, brightens up the place!

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The finished product! Thank you! We love our new/improved digs!

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Prior

kathy Prior volunteering at The Hunger Coalition

Volunteer, Kathy Prior bags and sorts green onions at The Hunger Coalition’s warehouse for a busy food distribution day.

How or why did you first become a Volunteer for The Hunger Coalition?

My two older daughters and I first started packing backpacks for the Backpack Program in 2007, since 2008 I have done hunger outreach in California and Oregon and now I’m back with The Hunger Coalition. Being an adopted child myself at the age of 10, I know how meaningful it is to have the emotional security of knowing where your next meal will come from.

What other interests or hobbies do you have?  Do you volunteer anywhere else? What did you know about The Hunger Coalition before becoming a Volunteer?

I’m most passionate about caring for others, whether it be through foster parenting, homeless outreach, hunger volunteering or being with my 7 children and 13 grandchildren. In my down time I enjoy hiking with my golden retriever and my only child still at home, spending time with my best friend Mal, scrapbooking, refurbishing/repurposing older items, being in nature, gardening and baking. I also deliver food for Meals on Wheels and scoop ice cream at the Senior Center Ice Cream Parlor. I was a foster parent for 26 years and have in the past volunteered my training in crisis intervention for the foster/adopt trainings, as well as done crisis outreach for families that have suffered economical or emotional trauma. I knew little of the specific interworking of The Hunger Coalition before volunteering but I’m delighted every day to learn a little more than I knew the day/month or year before.

What would you tell people The Hunger Coalition is now that you have been a part of the team?

The Hunger Coalition is extremely vital in a community like the Wood River Valley where the incomes vary so drastically from the very low income and working class, to the very well off and  economically privileged. The staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing a heartfelt service that might be easily pushed under the rug (or not as easily accessible due to the rural proximity of the community) if it were not for The Hunger Coalition.

Can you share a particular memory or favorite experience you have had while working here?

I’m not in the forefront and I often prefer to be the anonymous volunteer due to my personality and the fact that I believe that all my skills, talents and abilities have been a gift from my Creator and not of my own doing or being… That being said, I love to hear the laughter of the children as the get their food, the sharing of their parents with the other volunteers up front and the honest encouragement and genuine caring that is given to the families by the resource volunteers.

What sorts of jobs do you do as a Volunteer?  What kind of people do you work with?

I’ve readied the backpacks to go home with the children for the weekends, I’ve sorted and collected food from the grocery stores in Ketchum (Food Rescue Program) and delivered it to the warehouse. Now I help stock the shelves for distribution days and I package produce and food products in a family-friendly manner. The people at The Hunger Coalition are a different breed of humanity for sure; set aside by the light emitted from their spirits and the happiness shared via their extension of hope to the needy! It is my honor to be in  the presence of such beautiful souls and I’m humbled every day by how much of themselves they give freely to others.

WRMS Students Take on Philanthropy Project


wrmsBy WRMS Leadership Students

“The fate of the world is in your hands. What will you do with it?” is a quote from the late Rose Beal, a holocaust survivor, who visited Wood River Middle School students several years ago.  The challenge she posed struck a chord with WRMS GATE facilitator, Melanie Schrader, and this year she worked to develop curriculum to help her leadership students meet this challenge. In collaboration with the CenturyLink Philanthropy Project, the Wood River Middle School 7th Grade Leadership Class took on the task of  identifying non-profits in our community and determining which ones they would work with to make a difference.  

CenturyLink developed their philanthropy project to empower students to give back to their community. As part of the project, leadership students were given grant money in the amount of $3,000 dollars to give to nonprofits. They ended up dividing the money in half and giving it to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley and The Hunger Coalition. The results of this project impacted these students and our community greatly. Continue reading

Volunteer Spotlight: Becky and Nick Brooks

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Becky and Nick Brooks returning from rescuing food from Albertsons- look at the fabulous food they brought back. Thanks Becky and Nick!

1. How or why did you first become a Volunteer for The Hunger Coalition?

I home school Nick and some of our principles in life are to be kind, loving, giving of yourself and to be helpful in our community.

  1. What other interests or hobbies do you have? 

You will probably see Nick riding his longboard around town, or playing his Ukulele. He also loves skiing and snowboarding in the winter and wakeboarding in the summer. I also snow and waterski, hike and enjoy anything about healthy living and enjoying everything that God has blessed us with.  We like to do that when we can to help others, when an opportunity arises. Continue reading