Leaving The Foodbank, But Not The Mission

The following is a letter from former Eastern Idaho Branch Manager Rebecca Ristrem. While she’s leaving the Foodbank to pursue her career, she is not leaving the effort of solving hunger. She’ll continue to represent the Foodbank as a volunteer and advocate in the community. Here’s her message to Idahoans, in her words.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve already got.”

– Henry Ford

As of March 16th I will no longer be the Eastern Idaho Branch Manager for The Idaho Foodbank. After four incredible years, I feel it’s time for me to take on a new challenge. While it’s hard to say goodbye to the work and people who have meant so much to me, I leave knowing that a great deal has been accomplished during my tenure.

In 2013 the Pocatello facility distributed a little over three million pounds of food. This year we are on track to distribute more than five million pounds. That difference represents around 1.4 million meals for Idaho working families, children and seniors in our area.  In addition to the pounds of food, we also launched new programs. School pantry for feeding children and families. And Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters to educate all ages about food preparation and the importance of good nutrition.

Of course these achievement aren’t the Foodbank’s alone. During that same four year period we went from 30 to 60 community partners helping to distribute food and host programs. These are organizations comprised of committed individuals who are working to do what’s best for the people in their community. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work alongside each and every one of them.

On the days when I felt a little overwhelmed – and there were a few – I drew strength from the belief that I was making a difference in people’s lives. And I knew that to be true, because people would come up to me and say things like, “My kids get your backpacks and I don’t know what we would do without your help.” These were hard working Idahoans doing everything they could and still coming up short. That’s reason enough to persevere.

I am proud of my time as the Eastern Idaho Branch Manager for The Idaho Foodbank.  Of the work my talented team accomplished, the many people we served, and the meaningful friendships I made. And I know the great work will continue after I am gone. It has been a wonderful experience made possible by an organization that I will continue to support in whatever way I can.

Thank you eastern Idaho.

Rebecca Ristrem served as the Eastern Idaho Branch Manager for The Idaho Foodbank from April of 2013 to March of 2017.  The Idaho Foodbank is an independent, donor-supported non-profit organization. It is the largest provider of free food in Idaho. Through statewide food distribution, nutrition education, and healthcare collaborations it is contributing to healthier families and stronger communities.