Idaho Foodbank Nominations for Idaho Philanthropy Day 2021

In celebration of Idaho Philanthropy Day, the Idaho Nonprofit Center and Serve Idaho recognized the amazing philanthropic work of nonprofit organizations, foundations, businesses, and individuals with the annual Idaho Philanthropy Day Awards.

The Idaho Philanthropy Day awards encompass the spirit of philanthropy including, time, talent, treasure, and involvement in the community. Virtual ceremonies were held in North, Southwest, and Eastern Idaho on November 4, 9, and 10, 2021.

The Idaho Foodbank nominated companies and individuals who have gone above and beyond for their community. This is never an easy task, as The Idaho Foodbank team is genuinely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and generosity from corporate donations to the thousands of volunteer hours logged annually to the young donors showing a commitment by becoming volunteer leaders. This year, the following Idaho Foodbank nominees were named award winners:

Eastern Idaho Nominees:

Outstanding Philanthropic Company 

Lookout Credit Union – Pocatello, ID

The Idaho Foodbank nominated Lookout Credit Union for Outstanding Philanthropic Company. The services and care they provide in their local communities across Eastern Idaho is exceptional. They have been a strong, consistent supporter of the Idaho Foodbank and our partner network through helping fund our programs, sponsor events and regular volunteerism. They have included us in their annual giving and enthusiastically sponsor additional requests to support events throughout the year. They have been consistent volunteers for many years and continue to give hundreds of hours of their time to help fight hunger.

When The Idaho Foodbank came up with a new way to gather food items for our Bannock County Thanksgiving Distribution in 2020, the staff at LCU answered the call to join our first annual Holiday Food Fight by collecting over 1,200 cans of green beans. They also stepped up and volunteered to load food boxes the day of the distribution. Their staff is incredibly kind, energetic and always gets the job done. In addition to giving their time in our warehouse, they serve many other community organizations in need. They have a lot of fun knowing that what they are doing truly makes a difference.

Lookout Credit Union deserves this recognition because of their clear commitment to the community. If they are sponsoring an event or volunteering to build food boxes for one of our 17 mobile pantries, they bring their A-game. We are truly grateful for every employee at Lookout Credit Union and can never say thank you enough.

Outstanding Adult Philanthropist

Karen MacKay – Pocatello, ID

Karen MacKay has been financially supporting community service organizations in Pocatello for several decades. Karen and her husband’s yearly support for the following organizations is overwhelming: The Idaho Foodbank, Aid For Friends, Family Services Alliance, Valley Mission Pantry, Idaho State University, Idaho Public TV, Pocatello NAACP, and Gate City Ladies Club. In the 1980’s, Karen started volunteering with the NAACP at events and sitting on various committees to raise money for continuing work and funding scholarships. She currently sits as treasurer with NAACP. In 2010, she started volunteering at The Idaho Foodbank with Gate City Ladies Club once a month. She enjoyed working at The Foodbank so much that her and her husband started a second volunteer group to come in monthly. She also volunteers at The Idaho Youth Ranch sorting donations with Gate City Ladies. As a group, Gate City Ladies collect monetary donations for places such as Aid for Friends, Family Services Alliance, St. Vincent de Paul, the veterans home, and many more. Karen assists in the collection of various kitchen and household items to donate to families who are leaving the shelter so they can have a fresh start. On top of all of that, Karen serves as an at large member for Friends of the Marshall Public Library. At least once a week, she sorts boxes of donated books for their book sales. Her commitment and dedication to the Pocatello community is heartwarming and inspiring to see.

Karen MacKay and her husband John want nothing but the best for the Pocatello community and lend a hand wherever they can. Karen gives her time and treasure selflessly, always brightening up the room she is in. If she is not coordinating an event, she is putting in the hard work to see it be as successful as possible. She is a true example of what it means to serve one’s community.

Outstanding Adult Volunteer – Brightest Star

Laura Hale– Pocatello, ID

Laura Hale’s passion for volunteering began when she came with her employer, Sparklight, formerly Cable One, in 2017. She not only donated service to The Idaho Foodbank facility in Pocatello, but also with Sparklight at the Back 2 School giveaway for children in the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District. When COVID hit, The Idaho Foodbank in Pocatello lost several of its corporate volunteers. That’s where Laura Hale stepped up and made it her mission to help us with getting people in our warehouse to make sure our communities were still being served. Laura and her daughter began volunteering twice a week, every week and have hundreds of hours of service under their belts. On several occasions she showed up with friends and family to volunteer when we were in desperate need of volunteers. She coordinated a group to come and help us for our massive Thanksgiving Distribution during COVID and now the group comes to our facility and repacks food once a month. These are just a few of the reasons she was awarded for her service at our most recent Volunteer Appreciation event in April.

Beyond the Idaho Foodbank, Laura donates her time to several other events and organizations in the community. She has organized fundraisers to adopt a child for Christmas, she has helped with setting up the Field of Heroes every May since it was established, she is also the secretary and treasurer for the Interfaith Softball League in Pocatello and runs concessions three times a year for play productions at Pocatello High School plays. Laura is an exemplary human committed to the mission of The Idaho Foodbank and committed to making sure that her communities needs are met through service.

Outstanding Youth Volunteer 

Kira Hale– Pocatello, ID

Kira Hale began her volunteer adventure when she was just 12 years old, accompanying her mother’s work (Sparklight, formerly Cable One) volunteer outing. She quickly realized how fun volunteering at The Idaho Foodbank can be. Her newfound passion started to bloom, taking charge of volunteer events that consisted of mostly adults. When supplies ran out, she would restock or refill without direction or request. Her attention to detail is one thing that helps drive her passion for volunteering with The Idaho Foodbank. She quickly learns how items should be packed in food boxes, how boxes should be stacked on a pallet, and if there’s a more efficient way to repack items. Right before the pandemic, her and her mother decided to attend regular volunteer sessions at The Idaho Foodbank. Kira continued to display strong leadership skills and voiced an urge to start training to become a lead volunteer. She has since been trained in using a manual pallet jack and would like to learn how to use the electrical machines when she becomes of age. For a now, at age 16, she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and has literally jumped into messes without hesitancy. She is constantly seen with a bright, beautiful smile on her face. We’ve been so lucky to have her these last four years and continue to look forward to seeing her when she volunteers with her mom. Together, they have accumulated over 500 hours of community service volunteering at The Idaho Foodbank.

Kira deserves this recognition as a thank you, not only for being a fantastic volunteer, but for being someone who consistently steps up to be a great leader. She truly is a selfless young lady who willingly gives her time and talent whenever she is needed.

North Idaho Nominee:

Outstanding Philanthropic Media/Marketing Company

McVey Entertainment Group – Lewiston, ID

Angie and Lee McVey, along with their team, truly serve their community. They are intentional about helping their listeners know what is happening in the community and how to get involved. This is one way that they display the abundant empathy and love they have for the community they live in. McVey Entertainment Group also regularly welcomes non-profits to the station to share information that benefits the community, all while making being on the radio a fun experience. The McVeys are genuinely engaged, invested in how they can help make an impact, and are constantly working to be a part of solutions.

Beyond their contributions to The Idaho Foodbank, McVey Entertainment Group also supports the Fire fighter’s “Fill the Boot” fundraisers, Calam fundraisers, and the YWCA School Supply Drive. Additionally, they regularly serve on boards and volunteer at multiple organizations. Both Angie and Lee serve as members of the Community Spirit Fireworks Committee. Additionally, Angie serves as a CASA volunteer, while Lee serves on the Valley Youth Resource Center board. Lee’s past roles include serving as Chair of the Idaho State Broadcasters’ Association and President of the Rockin’ on the River Committee. We are so grateful for the positive impact that McVey Entertainment Group continually has on North Central Idaho.

Southwest Idaho Nominee:

Outstanding Philanthropic Company

Fred Meyer– Statewide

Fred Meyer is a longstanding partner of The Idaho Foodbank and significant community philanthropist. They are a leader in ensuring food goes to communities throughout Idaho through the food rescue program. This donation program provides fresh and nonperishable foods not only providing nutritious food to neighbors in need but also preventing food waste. Through their Zero Hunger, Zero Waste campaign they take their commitment to hunger to a new level by encouraging customers to get involved with hunger relief through point of sale donations, while also raising awareness of the importance that every person have the food they need to thrive. This is not just a month-long campaign – it goes year-round to support hunger relief activities because hunger does not know a season. Through this campaign they have provided food for millions of meals for Idahoans in need.

Fred Meyer not only provides food and funds to support our communities but they also give their time. Their Treasure Valley stores have been sites for the annual “7Cares Idaho Shares” event every December, which encourages their customers to donate funds and goods, including toys and supplies for the holidays.

When the pandemic hit Fred Meyer focused in on their commitment to ending hunger and made a significant impact. In calendar year 2020, Fred Meyer contributed $350,000 to hunger relief in Idaho. They are not just partners in ending hunger today, they want a future where no one experiences hunger. In addition to all of their annual support, they are also contributors to The Idaho Foodbank’s A Fresh Approach capital campaign that has produced Idaho’s largest hunger relief facility to serve every county in the state.

Philanthropy is woven into the company’s basic day-to-day operations. When you shop with them, they encourage you to donate to the community. Their employees believe in the Zero Hunger Zero Waste campaign and thus are willing to talk with customers about the campaign and donate their personal time. They get involved with numerous community initiatives. Best of all, they don’t seek much public recognition for it. They do what they do because it will help create a hunger-free and healthier Idaho.

A special thank you to all of The Idaho Foodbank’s 2021 Idaho Philanthropy Award nominees: 

  • Belle Sherman, Southwest Region – Outstanding Youth Philanthropist
  • Genie Engels, Southwest Region – Outstanding Adult Philanthropist
  • Kris Brown, North Central Region – Outstanding Adult Volunteer Brightest Star
  • Lewis and Clark Healthcare Foundation, North Central Region – Outstanding Philanthropic Company
  • LHS Student Life Student Skills, North Central Region – Outstanding Youth Philanthropist
  • Mark Burgess, Southwest Region – Outstanding Adult Volunteer Brightest Star
  • Melba Valley Senior Center, Southwest Region – Outstanding Non-Profit
  • Moscow United Way, North Central Region – Outstanding Non-Profit
  • Terri Nesset, North Central Regio – Outstanding Adult Philanthropist
  • The Giving Cupboard, Eastern Region – Outstanding Non-Profit

More information about the Idaho Philanthropy Awards, including recordings of the ceremonies, can be found on The Idaho Nonprofit Center website.