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ID Food Pantries See Spike in Folks Needing Meals

Volunteers in Idaho are stepping up to feed those in need across the state. (motortion/Adobe Stock)
Volunteers in Idaho are stepping up to feed those in need across the state. (motortion/Adobe Stock)
March 23, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- More Idahoans are seeking help getting meals as businesses close their doors to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Idaho Foodbank provides food statewide through its facilities in Boise, Lewiston and Pocatello, and has more than 240 community partners, as well as schools.

Karen Vauk, president and CEO, says her foodbank's partners are reporting spikes in the need for food. She says her organization is not seeing food shortages, but is mostly concerned about transportation costs.

"We're currently working to increase the volume of food that we're bringing in by the truckload and at this point, we're not concerned with what we're seeing in terms of what's available," she states.

Vauk says food donations aren't necessarily beneficial for The Idaho Foodbank since it deals in truckloads, but food drives for local pantries could be helpful.

Donations to help cover transportation costs help The Idaho Foodbank most of all.

Pantries have changed their model so people aren't gathered in one place, with volunteers delivering food to people's cars or having them come up to the door one at a time.

Vauk says her organization is looking for volunteers, since it's older Idahoans who are being asked to stay home right now.

Volunteers are working in groups of no more than 10 people, and Vauk says anyone with virus symptoms shouldn't sign up. She says while this has put a strain on folks, the foodbank's partners are doing everything they can to get as much food out as possible.

"That just is heartwarming when you hear that there is still that level of commitment, many of whom are volunteers at the community level," she states.

"They're not walking away. They may be struggling themselves, they may have family members that are struggling, but their commitment to serve their community is as strong as ever."

Vauk says people can find their local food pantry on The Idaho Foodbank's website.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID