Food Pantries in Blaine County are Responding to the Increase in Need

The Idaho Foodbank supports every county in Idaho and during these unchartered times its paying extra attention to severely hit areas, like Blaine County. Operating in this area is Idaho Foodbank partner, The Hunger Coalition, which serves the local towns of Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey, Bellevue, and Carey.

Sun Valley, located in Blaine County, is known for its frequent celebrities, unique events and conferences, avid arts and music scene and world-class recreation.

What some people may not know is that even before the COVID-19 crisis, 1 in 3 people in Blaine County were considered food insecure or just one crisis away from food insecurity, according to a recent United Way study estimate.

Since the COVID-19 impact arrived, The Hunger Coalition has reported serving more families through its food pantry in one month than the organization did in all of 2019. They are operating at over three times the level they did prior to the outbreak. That’s three times as many families and three times as much food. The numbers are unprecedented.

I don’t know what I would do without you. I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent without you guys.

Recent Visitor to The Hunger Coalition

Businesses are used to seeing a slow-down, or slack, as locals refer to it this time of year. But the hope of summer is generally right around the corner. This year is vastly different. Practically every major summer event is cancelled, from concerts to conferences.

Before COVID-19 we were averaging 141 families per week at the food pantry. In the weeks following the first reported COVID-19 case in Blaine County, we’ve been averaging nearly 400 families per week through our curbside food distribution.

Jeanne Liston
Executive Director, The Hunger Coalition

With schools closed, The Hunger Coalition is distributing significantly more Snack Packs to local children. During the normal school year, an average of 130-160 Snack Packs were distributed per week. In the last week of April 2020, the organization shared 558 Snack Packs to families with children at its curbside food distribution.

The Idaho Foodbank is reporting a 25-50% increase in need across the state, while some areas are seeing a higher than 100% increase. According to a state-wide partner study, 66% of partners report having a significant number of new visitors, people who have never before sought out food assistance.

The Idaho Foodbank is proud to work with amazing nonprofit partners like The Hunger Coalition. Their dedication is inspiring. The Foodbank is working tirelessly to meet the need in Idaho. In April, more than 2 million pounds of nutritious food was distributed throughout the state, with some regions receiving double and triple the food they received pre-pandemic.

Through strategic planning, collaboration with the network, and corporate and individual donations the needs of these communities can and will be served.