Elizabeth Rudd/Lewiston Tribune
BOVILL – The last bar in Bovill closed about six months ago, and with it went the last place in town to buy essential day-to-day items.
That’s just one example of why Jamie Fiorino said it’s crucial for the Idaho Foodbank’s mobile pantry to come to her rural Latah County town.
“I don’t really think you can overestimate the importance of the mobile pantry coming to this community,” said Fiorino, who has lived in Bovill for three years. Fiorino is the pastor at the Bovill Community Presbyterian Church and was one of about 10 volunteers Monday who helped facilitate the Foodbank’s distribution. She was also one of the town’s residents who benefited by receiving a box loaded up with food, including fresh potatoes, onions, ricotta cheese and elbow macaroni.
“We all come down here for the socializing aspect, and we get to walk away with something that helps,” she said.
Cari Miller, the Foodbank’s Lewiston branch manager, said the mobile pantry visits nine locations in north central Idaho that have limited food pantry access, including the monthly trip to Bovill.
The Foodbank distributed about 2,700 pounds of food to 72 recipients Monday, ranging from single individuals to larger families, Miller said. The Bovill mobile pantry also serves residents in Santa, Clarkia and Fernwood. The pantry itself consists of a pickup truck and trailer that is loaded with food. Miller said the amount of people being served is determined based on what the Foodbank has available and how many families have signed in at the pantry in the past three months.
The food is then labeled and placed in the truck. Once it arrives, a group of volunteers helps sort the food and distribute it to residents. Each town has a mobile pantry coordinator, who helps the Foodbank organize volunteers and manage the site. Miller said the number of volunteers tends to range from five to 10.
“Bovill’s usually really good with their team (of volunteers),” she said.
Ken Bowey, Bovill’s mobile pantry coordinator, said a staff member of the Foodbank approached him about 10 years ago with the idea of the mobile pantry. He has been helping with it since.
“It’s really good what we do here,” he said. “People come down, the community gathers.”
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