MAGIC VALEY — Many communities throughout the nation are still facing hardships because of COVID-19. Some of these hardships either emerged or magnified during the pandemic.
The Idaho Foodbank says in years before the pandemic they distributed around 3 million pounds of food statewide through their mobile pantry program. Now that is just enough food to distribute throughout southeast Idaho.
PacifiCorp Foundation, a nonprofit arm of Rocky Mountain Power, is giving $35,500 in grants to seven different organizations in the Gem state to help combat these struggles.
“As we are seeing vaccines roll out across the country, we know that many of our communities and folks in our service territory, they’re recovering but they are still facing some challenges," Tiffany Erickson with Rocky Mountain Power, said.
The Idaho Foodbank received a $15,000 grant from Rocky Mountain Power, which they say will help them continue their efforts of feeding rural parts of the state through their mobile pantry program.
“We very much understand that food insecurity is not going away. Before the pandemic we had families that this was a constant deal for them then you put them through a pandemic and that just makes it that much worse. Now we’re coming back out of it and it didn’t get any better. They didn’t get a step up from it," Kia Shaw, Eastern Idaho Branch Manager for the Idaho Food Bank, said.
Rocky Mountain Power provided grants to seven different organizations in the Gem State including:
- Giving Cupboard for the purchase of a mobile pantry trailer to help respond to a growing need for food assistance throughout Jefferson County.
- Idaho Foodbank Warehouse to support the mobile food pantry program, which serves food-insecure families in rural communities and has responded to a soaring need during the pandemic.
- Judicial District VII CASA Program to help serve abused and neglected children with court-appointed special advocate volunteers.
- McCammon Action Council for the creation of a community garden, greenhouse, and toolshed to help food-insecure families learn how to grow their food.
- Nell J. Redfield Memorial Hospital to purchase updated, safer, age-appropriate exercise equipment for residents of the long-term care wing.
- Shelley Area Senior Center for the purchase and installation of a sanitary kitchen island and new lighting for the kitchen, which provides meals for many area seniors.
The organization says its goal is to help communities get back on their feet.
“These are the communities where we live where we work and we play and so we want to play a positive role and have a positive impact," Erickson said.