April is Volunteer Appreciation Month

The Idaho Foodbank works with more than 29,000 volunteers a year who donate over 70,000 hours of service; enough to fill 33 full-time positions. We couldn’t do our work without our volunteers and our aim is to celebrate the kids, seniors, families, corporations and organizations who give their time and talents year-round. It’s hard to pick but each year we like to highlight volunteers from each regional facility. This year we are proud to name the following individuals, companies, and groups who especially stood out:

Clearwater Paper
Clearwater Paper Volunteers

North Central, Clearwater Paper

When the pandemic hit the North Central area, the warehouse saw a drop in volunteers. Clearwater Paper recognized the need for volunteers and stepped in to help the community without hesitation. When there has been a need for an emergency volunteer group, they have answered the call time and time again. They have given the North Central branch 276 volunteer hours since May 2020, packing countless senior nutrition and mobile pantry boxes, sometimes needing to be delivered the next day. The North Central team is grateful for their compassion, hard work and dedication. The need is huge but with volunteers like the Clearwater Paper team we know we can rise to the challenge together.

Laura Hale and Kira Hale
Volunteer Laura Hale on the right pictured with her daughter Kira

Eastern, “Friends of The Idaho Foodbank”

The Eastern Idaho branch of The Idaho Foodbank saw a drop in corporate and church volunteers because of the pandemic. However, individuals, families and private groups signed up and made up the difference. It has been incredible to see what is being accomplished. An exceptional group of individual volunteers stepped up just when they were needed most and ultimately created their own weekly crew. These individuals started coming in several times a week just to make sure the projects were completed. They have put in thousands of hours of blood, sweat, and tears – well maybe not tears – but definitely sweat and the occasional cardboard box cut. With heartfelt gratitude and thanks, here is the list of the “IFB Groupies” from Pocatello:

Jim Mariani
Rick Dutson
Helen Fuentes
Juli Hafen
Jean George
Carla Korinek
Andrea Vialpando
Allen Eng
Laura Hale

Brandon Weast Team Rubicon
Brandon Weast Team Rubicon

Southwest, Team Rubicon

When the pandemic began, the need for food assistance in the state of Idaho increased dramatically. The Idaho Foodbank realized that our distribution model was not enough to serve the increased need. The decision was made to utilize the USDA Farmers to Families program (CFAP) to conduct large scale community food distributions throughout the state.

Team Rubicon is a national organization of military veterans who step in to assist communities during disaster response situations. In the Southwest region we reached out to Team Rubicon for any assistance they could offer. We were introduced to Brandon Weast who is a member of Team Rubicon. Brandon jumped into action and took the lead on many aspects of our community distributions over the last year. He has searched for sites around the area to conduct the distributions working closely with the cities of Nampa, Boise, Caldwell and Mountain Home on details. Brandon has been at every distribution held by The Idaho Foodbank over the last year. He is the first one to arrive and the last person to leave.

Brandon recruits city volunteers, Team Rubicon members, and active duty Air Force to assist at our distributions. Brandon will operate the forklift, input customer data, coordinate traffic, load vehicles, and manage volunteers during the distributions. He has also made several appearances on local news networks discussing the positive impact the distributions are having on local communities.

Over the last year, The Idaho Foodbank has distributed 1.7 million pounds of nutritious food through community distributions. Brandon and Team Rubicon have been truly instrumental in helping The Foodbank give hope to so many during a truly challenging time.

For more information please visit our Volunteer page.