United Way offering food boxes with Jerome "grab n' go" lunches

Posted at 3:01 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 11:23:06-04

JEROME, Idaho — United Way is teaming up with the Jerome School District to help the community in more ways than one.

They're working together to help those struggling with food insecurity, and helping local farmers at the same time.

As Idaho News 6 reported this spring, Idaho's agriculture industry was hit especially hard by the coronavirus. Many local farmers and dairies had too much product and nowhere for it to go.

A USDA program called Farmers to Families takes those extra products and puts it into the hands of those who need it most.

"They provide us with about 51 boxes every week. We work with the Jerome School District and the grab n' go meals they do, and just offer a box of produce as well," explained Bill Maikrantz, President and CEO of United Way. "Because we have this strategy, this program in place, we're able to offer even more to the Jerome community."

Maikrantz says the need isn't new, but it's growing.

"We deal with this stuff every day. Even if there's not a covid pandemic we're still dealing with it," Maikrantz said. "There's definitely a need. It's obviously highly related to the COVID stuff that's going on."

Organizers like Deloris Argyle with United Way say at first, dealing with the huge need was a bit overwhelming, but seeing the families she's helping makes it all worth it.

"When they open it up right there, they're usually very grateful. It's 25 pounds of produce," Argyle said. "It's a lot of great food and a lot of families are very thankful to have it."

Maikrantz says the United Way has had to get a bit creative with the ways they help the community but will continue supporting those in need the best they can.

"We're really just in uncharted territory, but the one thing that remains true is we're here," Maikrantz said.

United Way says they'll continue offering the boxes through the Grab n' Go lunches through the end of August, but they're still discussing the future of the program. They say there is a possibility it will be extended through the end of the year.