TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The COVID-19 Idaho Response and Recovery Fund, which was created in March, awards money to trusted organizations in local communities to help vulnerable and low-income Idahoans during this time. Since April, the fund has awarded $1.3 million to help people in need.
Multiple organizations across the Magic Valley received funds in places like Jerome, Gooding, Blaine, and Cassia counties. A large portion of the recipients is in Twin Falls County. The Twin Falls School District Education Foundation is among the groups receiving an award.
The Education Foundation received $10,000 in May, spending some of the money on necessary supplies and setting aside a portion for the upcoming school year. Sixteen schools are in the entire district, and the funding distributed to each school is based on demand. Funds are helping assist the Foundation's food pantries to create food boxes for families.
“The funds that we generated were for perishable items so things that they could go and shop in a grocery store for, you know fresh produce and cheese and yogurt, kind of proteins in that capacity,” explains Stephanie Hudson, Executive Director of the Education Foundation.
The Foundation also used its funds for both school supplies, like notebooks, pencils, markers, backpacks, and other items that are needed for everyday use. The district has also been providing students with more common needs, such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrushes, and even shoes. Providing such a wide range of items for students and families is crucial, especially if families have to provide for multiple children.
Another recipient of this grant is local nonprofit La Posada. The organization helps people with immigration papers, paying their taxes, providing housing, and even providing them with supplies like clothing or food.
Since the pandemic, the organization has been struggling to assist people. They have seen a significant drop in donations to provide support for regular people in need, as well as support for their staff.
"This staff, almost all of them have families, so it’s really important. Most of them have been working many years here, so it’s a real privilege to help them and help their families," says Rosemary Boessen, La Posada's founder and director.
The organization has also set aside a small portion of this money to help pay bills and utilities. This money has been able to keep La Posada open and continue providing service for members of the community. The decrease in donations has been tough on the organization, but they are more than happy to accept any amount given.