Idaho's former First Lady is leading the charge on a new statewide campaign for the Idaho Foodbank. Patricia Kempthorne is steering an initiative called A Fresh Approach to Feeding Idaho Families. It's focused on bringing fresh foods to Idaho's hungry.
"This is how you think of a foodbank. Canned goods, boxed goods, but in the Fresh Approach we've included that but also bring the fresh foods, and they come to us from the farmers, Idaho farmers," Kempthorne says.
Without a network of well-equipped warehouses and trucks for distribution the Idaho Foodbank must turn away some fresh donations from farmers and corporations.
Last year the Idaho Foodbank distributed almost 14.5 million meals, an increase of one million meals from the year before. Mrs. Kempthorne says with an ever-increasing Gem State population, food insecurity is an uphill battle, but placing an emphasis on healthy foods helps meet the growing need.
"I think that's the solving it. It is meeting the need, not eliminating the need, because I don't think we can ever do that."
What's needed most right now is space, expensive refrigerated space. The Idaho Foodbank is hoping to raise $8 million in its capital campaign to fix that problem.
"It's not about being some big fancy building. it's about being able to provide for the people of our state. Communities can provide for members of their community, so that we can all be a part of helping each other which sounds very Idahoan to me."
Without enough freezers strategically placed around the state to store food, leaders at the Idaho Foodbank say they can't fulfill their mission of a hunger free Idaho, but this native Idahoan knows, first hand, from her time in both the Statehouse and now the warehouse, all it takes to succeed is cooperation.
"If each of us did one thing, just think what would get done," Kempthorne says.