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Small nonprofit team works overtime cooking hundreds of meals per day for at-risk homeless

Posted at 10:22 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 01:11:10-04

BOISE, Idaho — The COVID-19 outbreak puts Idaho's homeless families and medically fragile at an even greater risk of transmission. As we previously told you, that’s why the Riverside Hotel in Garden City stepped up to lend thirty of their rooms to homeless guests of Interfaith Sanctuary.

But to help those guests stay fed and isolated, a group of talented community members is now going the extra mile: nonprofit Create Common Good is preparing three meals a day, seven days a week -- and safely delivering them to the homeless guests at Riverside Hotel.

“We can either wring our hands or we can put them to good use," said Cyn Reneau, CEO of Create Common Good (CCG).

And they’re doing all this -- in overdrive.

“We’re running, ya know, 10, 14 hour days.”

They're providing the hotel’s 72 vulnerable homeless guests with more than 200 meal servings per day, plus breakfasts Monday through Friday at Interfaith Sanctuary’s main campus.

“And how many people are on your team responsible for all this?" I asked.

"Four. And two of them are trainees," said Reneau.

And did I mention that the trainees — who as part of CCG's mission are Idahoans who face barriers to employment — are doing this all for free aside from the clocked credits that‘ll go toward getting their ServSafe certifications?

So why the strenuous extra hours and efforts? Reneau explains what -- or rather, who -- has been her driving force.

“I did a delivery down there [for] the medically fragile meals, and I was walking down the hallway, and of course the Riverside’s just deserted, and a little man with a mask on and hospital pajamas, probably 90 pounds, peaked out of his room. And as soon as he saw me coming down the hall, he shut the door. And it really made me take pause that… he is alone 24 hours a day. The only contact that he’s getting with the outside world is the three meals a day that we’re preparing for him. And so it really stuck with me, that I need to do whatever I can possibly do to make sure he gets a smile on his face," said Reneau.