BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho State Historical Society (ISHS) is holding a food drive event at the Old Idaho Penitentiary on June 5 through 8. The food drive will benefit St. Vincent de Paul food pantries in southwest Idaho and the Idaho Foodbank. The four-day "Make Hunger History" event will also allow donors to experience the Old Idaho Pen.
There will be a food and cash donation drop off inside the Old Idaho Pen. Anyone in a vehicle with at least five cans of food and $5 in cash will be allowed into the Sally Port and then the prison grounds. People should enter at the Sally Port, located on the north side of the prison built in 1931 to accommodate shipments. All vehicles will need to meet size restrictions to enter, no more than eight feet wide and nine feet high. If your vehicle does not fit through the port, you can still drop off donations to staff and volunteers outside the prison.
"We're excited about this program for so many reasons, including the fact that Idahoans making donations will have an unprecedented chance to bring their vehicle into the Sally Port and then drive around a portion of the prison grounds," said Amber Beierle, Historic Sites Administrator for ISHS. "But this collaboration is also exciting because we're leveraging this experience into Idaho's past into helping meet the needs today for the many Idahoans who are struggling to feed their families during the pandemic."
Vehicles should have no more than four people inside, and passengers should be from the same household and have no illness or be recovering from an illness. Only a limited number of vehicles will be allowed at one time, so there could be wait times. Photo opportunities will also be available, but occupants must stay inside the vehicle unless instructed by staff or volunteers. Buildings within the prison will not be open to the public. Drivers must also acknowledge that ISHS is not responsible for any vehicle damage for the duration of the donation drop-off.
Donations of food will be given to St. Vincent de Paul on Overland Road and cash donations will go to the Idaho Foodbank and used to help buy and deliver food. 100 percent of proceeds and donations will go to the organizations.
"As Idahoans struggle to meet basic needs, we are grateful to the Idaho State Historical Society for their efforts to raise awareness around hunger. The coronavirus has triggered a rapid increase in the demand for food. Many in our communities are facing hunger for the first time due to the sudden loss of income and school closures," said Karen Vauk, President and CEO of The Idaho Foodbank. "These donations will go directly to feeding Idahoans in need now and lets them know that their friends and neighbors care."
The limited re-opening is part of Idaho Historical Society's staged re-opening plan approved by Governor Little. ISHS sites also plan to offer special hours for seniors and 50 percent reduction in admission for healthcare workers, first responders and service industry workers. For more information about the ISHS re-openings, click here.