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IT’S BEEN A GO-GETTING, RECORD-SETTING YEAR. With you by our side, we’ve shared more food with people than ever. More children chased down Bloom Truck for free lunches and books this summer. More homegrown carrots, beets, and greens are being pulled from Bloom Community Farm by more participants than we ever dreamed possible. In April we hit an all-time high number of families accessing food from our food pantry — nearly 800 people walked our small grocery aisle in one month.
Blaine County has the highest cost of living in Idaho, yet average wages in our community fell below the state last year. Combine that with a lack of affordable housing and higher than average food costs; it’s no wonder more people are struggling to put dinner on the table. With your support, The Hunger Coalition has answered the growing demand for our services. It is a privilege to have such a responsive, generous community. Thank you. With a record amount of food being shared comes a record amount of gratitude for your commitment.
This spring you helped us add another third of an acre to our Farm to accommodate the large turnout at Volunteer for Veggies. But the need to expand doesn’t stop there. As you can imagine, this increased demand for our services has us scrambling for more space. There’s often a bottleneck in the grocery aisle, a line out the door, and people sitting shoulder to shoulder in our waiting area.
Even as we reach more people, studies show that 38% of people in Blaine County are food insecure or are one crisis away from it. Our programs feed about 20% currently. With your continued help, we are on a quest to bridge this gap to ensure every child and adult in our community has access to nourishing food.
Your generosity is written into every story of courage in this book. Thank you for being a light that shines through the darkness of hunger. We hope you will stay with us as, TOGETHER, WE CONTINUE OUR WORK TO BUILD A HEALTHY AND JUST COMMUNITY THROUGH THE POWER OF GOOD FOOD.
EVEN AT THE FOOD PANTRY, PEOPLE ARE A COMMUNITY. The Hunger Coalition fosters that true spirit. You have people of all aspects and you don’t make people ashamed of coming in for help. It’s not political. It’s just like, everyone is human, everyone needs food.
I remember when I first came into The Hunger Coalition and said I have a job — I actually have a couple jobs but I’m having trouble paying for food. A big issue I had was that I got into debt after suffering a lot of medical problems. At the time, I had started working for the Ketchum Fire Department, but was paid-on-call and camping in order to be close to the station.
I was 185 pounds, in really good shape, and all of a sudden I couldn’t afford meals. I was lucky if I could eat one a day. It’s not a good feeling going to bed, eating your last meal, and not knowing if you’re going to be able to eat the next day. I lost a lot of weight. I was getting comments constantly from people about it, which made me harbor a lot of resentment. So when I was able to start getting food from The Hunger Coalition, that stopped happening.
I don’t have much family here. My parents have passed away so it’s just my brother and me. For a lot of people, you can’t go to your parents’ house for dinner at night.
I’m going to school now for outdoor recreation leadership through CSI. So my goal is to get my search and rescue certification and my associate’s degree. After that, I hope to get on full time with the fire department or maybe join the Navy. With The Hunger Coalition’s support, you are helping me see who I want to be. When I was down and needed help, you guys embraced me. I wouldn’t be here without you.
I TOOK MY FINALES TODAY – I GOT A 4.0 THIS SEMESTER.
HOW DID BLOOM YOUTH PROJECT IMPACT YOUR LIFE?
It really helped me get out of my shell a bit. I was shown that it is okay to be vulnerable. The
program also made me appreciate the outdoors more because I realized that being indoors makes you forget that the world is full of wonderful life.
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM BLOOM YOUTH PROJECT THAT YOU STILL USE TODAY?
I remember being told that eye contact and a strong handshake is a great way to show people you are determined. I use this today and I will use it in the future as well.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE CURRENT CLASS OF INTERNS?
Don’t be afraid to bloom and change during this program. This is a gift that others miss out on. Be glad you were able to experience this with the other people in the group and make sure to have lots and lots of fun, because those are the memories you want to keep close.
WHAT IS YOUR FOR THE FUTURE?
In the future, I hope to be climbing the charts as a CEO or Director or Screenwriter or Actor. The future is going to be hard and painful, but very beautiful.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE VEGETABLE YOU HARVESTED AT BLOOM FARM?
I really like the kohlrabi the most because I didn’t even know it existed.
The healthy food pantry fed over 1,600 people in fiscal year 2019.
the summer food program dished up 4,941 lunches to 311 kids – that’s 25% more.
nearly 200 people volunteered for veggies & Over 300 youth engaged in garden education.
10 bright bloom youth project interns participated in this life-changing opportunity in 2019.
This summer, so many children turned out to enjoy free food, fun, and reading with The Community Library that Bloom Truck was said to be in the midst of a Super Bloom. One mother told us that her little girl sits by the window all morning so she can see Bloom pull around the corner and be the first one in line. These are the kinds of experiences that this program was made for.
Because of you, 25% more children devoured Rainbow Wraps with hummus, read The Very Quiet Cricket with their friends, and were introduced to classical music through Sun Valley Music Festival’s instrument petting zoo. Your generosity gave hundreds of children who might not otherwise have a happy, healthy summer the opportunity to grow alongside their peers. But don’t take our word for it.
WE ASKED BLOOM KIDS FOR THEIR FEEDBACK…
What would you do if Bloom wasn’t here?
Prob just be bored and lazy.
I wouldn’t go outside until August 15.
Be sad. Cry.
What was the yummiest lunch you had at Bloom?
Sun butter and honey sandwiches.
Yogurt and fruit cup.
The beautiful array of healthy, FARM-FRESH PRODUCE IS PLANTED, WEEDED, AND HARVESTED BY OVER 200 LOCAL PEOPLE. These are Volunteers for Veggies, Bloom Youth Project interns, student groups, and donors; folks from all walks of life working side-by-side TO ENSURE THAT GOOD FOOD IS A RIGHT.
A Bloom carrot doesn’t generally stop at the farm or garden*. Once it’s harvested, it travels throughout our community and fills our programs with health and happiness for people who struggle to afford good food.
The Hunger Coalition joined forces with Herbert Romero, Founder of PROJECT.O.O.L.S & PARTNERS: a community based operation that develops and implements cultural events, youth leadership, and family wellness initiatives. Romero is helping cultivate Hispanic leaders in Blaine County and bridge community across cultures. We talked to Romero about the importance of food and collaboration.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL FOR BLAINE COUNTY?
My passion is in finding ways to engage with different cultures in an authentic way. How can we come together to better understand each other? It’s important we coordinate efforts to unify Hispanic and White community leaders. At the end of the day, if we don’t get more united, it’s going to be a very interesting year. The message out there now is one of division. I think doing more things together and giving more opportunity to young people to rise as leaders is the ideal scenario.
HOW DO YOU USE FOOD AS A TOOL FOR CHANGE?
Food brings people together. Anytime I host an event, there has to be food. Whether Peruvian food, Lago Azul, or Bloom Truck, that’s how you get people to come. I led a Healthy Relationships class with local teens and 19 showed up, I think because they knew there would be chips and salsa [laughs].
I like that The Hunger Coalition’s message is not just food, but to have access and appreciation for eating healthy. It’s a good reminder. When you go to the grocery store, you go with a different mindset, because you have an awareness. When you go to a garden and you plant a seed, your perspective is different. You appreciate food, you understand food.
ISOLATION CAN BE DEADLY – I’M SERIOUS. I have friends who isolate and it’s terrible.
One of the benefits of living in Summit Apartments is that my friends are very close. They’re physically and emotionally close to me. There’s a tight-knit group of us who watch out for one another. We’ll check in and ask, “Have you seen so and so? Call them, text them, knock on their door, whatever it takes to make sure they’re ok.” It’s our little community.
One day, one of my friends who had cooked something said, “Come on over and eat.” I love to eat so BAM, I was over there. While we were at her house, I decided that I was going to cook for everyone next. Now we have group dinners all the time. That’s how our
community keeps building. When we see a new person who is interested in eating with us, we say, “Come on, come on in.”
When I went to The Hunger Coalition for the first time, I was totally blown away. I mean, I needed it. I was referred to their Veggie Rx program which means I can go to Bloom Farm or The Hope Garden and get five pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables a week to maintain my health. It was so helpful, I started bringing my friends who needed it to Volunteer for Veggies.
We are using food from The Hunger Coalition to come together. We eat and we talk, there’s nothing we won’t laugh about. It just makes us feel so much better. My friends who were isolating, who weren’t feeling very well, who were sick all the time, all of a sudden this summer, I have seen a positive change in them. They’re coming out of the house more, they’re putting on makeup.When I cook, my friends go on and on about how good dinner was. I love that because for me, cooking is a labor of love.
Once while working on a national political campaign many years ago, I encountered a young state legislator from the storied Long family of Louisiana. In a thick southern drawl, Ralph explained to me that the Longs’ idea of civic duty could be summed up in one simple phrase: we take care our own.
Adapted to our slice of mountain country — with an understanding of our own that includes all members of our community — it strikes me as a fitting motto for
The Hunger Coalition. Whether serving as volunteers, donors, staff or board members, it seems to be in the DNA of all who support our mission to always be asking what more can we do to lift up our friends and neighbors who could use a little help. It is truly joyful work.
Of course, the growth of The Hunger Coalition’s capacity to serve would not have happened without the generosity of this community. For example, we would not have increased the quality of food we offer to our participants without faith that our community would provide the funds needed to pay for it. By the same token, we could not have created Bloom Truck, Bloom Community Farm, and Bloom Youth Project to address unmet needs without confidence that the community would provide us with the time, talent, and treasure to sustain those programs.
The Hunger Coalition has a lot more growing to do to live into our mission, but working together, I believe someday our community will be able to declare without reservation that we take care our own.
WITH DEEP GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT AND COUNTING ON IT TO GROW IN THE FUTURE, LET IT BE SO.
|Bloom Food Income||$ 932|
|Business/Church/Group Donation||$ 72,773|
|Family Foundation Donations||$ 738,835|
|Individual Donations||$ 820,257|
|Value of Donated Food & Servies||$ 126,611|
|TOTAL INCOME||$ 1,801,543|
|Core Mission Support – Admin||$ 79,437|
|Core Mission Support – Fundraising||$ 189,967|
|Direct Expenses – Shared by Programs||$ 311,868|
|Food Access Programs||$ 439,655|
|Food Production Programs||$ 116,614|
|Resiliency Programs||$ 205,971|
|SUB TOTAL||$ 1,343,512|
|Capital Improvements||$ 14,973|
|TOTAL EXPENDITURES||$ 1,358,485|
|Other Funds Invested|
|Growth Initiative Funds||$ 443,059|
Our sincere thanks to the following individuals, foundations, & groups who gave gifts of $100 Or more between July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019.
THANKS TO THESE BUSINESSES FOR THIER CASH GIFTS OF $100 OR MORE.
THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS, COMPANIES, & PARTNERS WHO PROVIDED IN-KIND SUPPORT.
THE FOLLOWING GIFTS WERE MADE IN HONOR OR IN MEMORY OF PEOPLE LISTED BELOW.
We do our very best to accurately acknowledge gifts. Please email
email@example.com with any errors or omissions so we can correct our records.
WE ARE GRATEFUL TO THE FOLLOWING INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE INCLUDED THE HUNGER COALITION IN THEIR PLANNED GIVING ARRANGEMENTS.
Please contact us if you have included The Hunger Coalition in your will so we may list you as a legacy club member.