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 rshinn@thehungercoalition.org. 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!

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.

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

Spring Corporate Food Drive 2016 Success!

THC_CorpFoodDriveWinner_newsletterOur 2016 Spring Corporate food drive was a huge success! Eleven local businesses collected a whopping 2,250 pounds of food and $4950 in donations!

This will provide almost 4,000 meals to families in need! Recently, we saw 146 families who we provided nutritious food to all of them. Our numbers will likely grow during slack and we are so pleased to have stocked shelves to meet the seasonal need.

Here are our top five contributors from the 2016 Spring Corporate Food Drive:

1. Cold Springs Crossing
2. Sun Valley Company
3. Marketron
4. St. Luke’s Wood River
5. Idaho Mountain Express

Thank you to all our participants including

Atlantic Aviation
Cold Springs Crossing

High Country Fusion
Idaho Mountain Express
Marketron
POWER Engineers
Redfish Technology
St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center
Sun Valley Animal Center
Sun Valley Resort
Zenergy

 We couldn’t have done it without you!

The Hunger Coalition Prepares for the ‘Hunger Season’

Food Bank 2014_011When Spring arrives, The Hunger Coalition braces. In March alone last year, The Hunger Coalition distributed 616 food boxes, second highest to November’s record 757 food boxes. This year, The Hunger Coalition is preparing for even higher numbers.

Many people wonder ‘How can people be hungry in this valley?’ The fact that many individuals and families just don’t make enough money to cover all of their expenses is the main reason, and is explained further in the ALICE Report recently released by the United Way of the Pacific Northwest.

ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, takes a close look at those households living above the Federal Poverty line, but not earning enough to make ends meet. According to ALICE, the annual household survival budget in Blaine County is $20,328 for a single adult and $67,176 for a family of four. Many of The Hunger Coalition clients make well below that amount, forcing them to receive food assistance. In 2013, 35% of Blaine County’s 9,205 households were ALICE or living in poverty. Continue reading

Cooking Matters with VOICE II!

DSCF2001Ding! Off goes the timer! This session of Cooking Matters classes has wrapped up! We were thrilled to have the VOICE II students (adults aged 18-21 with disabilities) learning about cooking and nutrition education this time around.

Thanks to guest chef Esta Hornstein for her fabulous cooking and teaching skills. Esta taught the students about cutting vegetables, cracking eggs without breaking the yolk and about reading and following recipes. “‘I can’t believe it’s over….when can we do the next one?’ smiled Esta. “The students were just beaming holding their graduation certificates,” said Esta. “I just loved teaching this class, they are all really great kids.”

DSCF2035Star nutritionist from St. Luke’s, Laurie McBride, taught the students about nutrition and what to look for when reading food labels. “The VOICE II students were so much fun to teach!” said Laurie. “Their interest in learning about healthy foods and serving sizes was great, they especially had an interest in added sugar and how to identify sugars on the nutrition label,” added Laurie.

Every week, each student got to take home all the ingredients to make the meal taught in that week’s class. They could practice what they learned that week  AND make a wonderful healthy meal for their families!

We are getting ready to start another 6-week course in March for adults which will be funded in part by Don & Marcia Liebich. Continue reading

Food for Fines at The Hailey Public Library

 

The Hailey Public Lifoodforfinesbrary announces its first ever “Food for Fines” food drive for The Hunger Coalition. Now through February 29, library patrons with overdue fines can exchange non-perishable or canned goods for overdue fines to help local families in need.

One can of food is equal to $1.00 in fines.

“Food for Fines is a great way to remove any overdue fines on our patrons’ accounts, but more importantly, the initiative turns what could be a negative – overdue fines and limited access to our library, into a positive: helping others. It’s a win-win,” said LeAnn Gelskey, Director of the Hailey Public Library. Continue reading

February 2016 E-Newsletter

Brightest Stars Winner-3_johnWe are excited to share that The Hunger Coalition recently won Idaho’s Brightest Star award! It is thanks to our hard working staff, volunteers and generous community that we were chosen for this prestigious award. What an honor!

The Hunger Coalition - photo by Dev Khalsa

The Hunger Coalition – photo by Dev Khalsa

  Last month was our busiest January ever–22% higher than last January and more than DOUBLE from three years ago. Sadly, our busiest time of year is not even upon us yet.

The next time you’re at the grocery store, please consider purchasing a Stop Hunger card at the checkout stands of Atkinsons’ Markets ExecsummaryCoveror contributing to one of our yellow bins at Albertsons or Atkinsons’ Markets.

Are you interested in the Community Food Assessment’s findings of our local food system? Want to find out what community partners are doing moving forward, and what you can do too? Check out the Blaine County Food Assessment Executive Summary report here.

To read the entire February newsletter click here, or better yet, sign up to receive the monthly newsletter here.  

The Hunger Coalition Wins Idaho’s Brightest Star Award

Brightest Stars Winner-3_johnLast week, The Hunger Coalition was honored to win the “Idaho’s Brightest Star Award”, presented by Serve Idaho and the Governor’s Commission of Service and Volunteerism.

The awards ceremony, held in Boise on January 21st, recognized Idaho’s “unsung heroes” who volunteer tirelessly on behalf of children and families. The Hunger Coalition was one of 10 finalists and the only organization nominated in the Wood River Valley. Board member John Kahm accepted the award on behalf of The Hunger Coalition. Serve Idaho promotes collaborative efforts among private and non-profit organizations, schools, and state and local government agencies to advance national service programs and volunteerism throughout the state. Continue reading

Volunteer Spotlight: Nan Riley

nan riley1. How or why did you first become a Volunteer for The Hunger Coalition?

“I thought I’d like volunteering, I wasn’t able to do the heavy work but, the mailings and putting up event posters gets me out and about, meeting new people.”

2. What did you know about The Hunger Coalition before becoming a Volunteer?
I didn’t know a lot about The Hunger Coalition except their purpose, to help feed those who were having difficulty feeding themselves and their families. I must say since I began there I found it to be a well tuned organization, it’s very impressive.

3. What would you tell people The Hunger Coalition is now that you have been a part of the team? “How incredibly fine tuned it is. Everyone there has a job and they fill it to the best of their ability, it’s a handpicked group. And that they all work hard and together to see that the people who need good food, get good food.”

4. Can you share a particular memory or favorite experience you have had while working here? “I enjoy the mailing, it’s something I’ve done in the past. Finding a better way to make mailing as efficiently as possible. Getting to know the people that work there, marveling at their job performance.

5. What sorts of jobs do you do as a Volunteer? What kind of people do you work with? “Putting up posters is sort of a loner job, unless you have a friend who likes to drive around with you. Doing the mailing, it’s nice to just chat about where people have lived before making a home here, just chit chat. It’s nice to be around others and hear their stories.”

6. What other interests or hobbies do you have? “I enjoy glazing ceramics, spending as much time as I can at the The Bead Shop. It’s therapeutic and satisfying to take a blank item, a plate, and make it into something beautiful. I don’t volunteer elsewhere, not yet. I began last year and I’m feeling it out.”