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The Hunger Coalition helps Blaine County with more than just food boxes

They aim to end the stigma around food insecurity
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 5:48 PM MST
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BELLEVUE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The Hunger Coalition in Bellevue has had a huge increase in the number of people they have served throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

In the year 2019, The Hunger Coalition helped 1,716 people through their community food pantry, and in 2020, the number of people they helped grew to 4,275.

“Before COVID, the United Way reported that 38% of people were food insecure or one crisis away,” said Mary Simms for the development coordinator. “Then after COVID, the new report came out that actually 52% of people are food insecure or one crisis away, so that definitely plays into the amount of people that we are serving.”

Normally, the Hunger Coalition lets people into the food pantry to choose their own food items, but in order to keep people healthy, they transitioned to a drive-up system. People stay in their cars and are given a food box for the size of their family.

“Over half of this county is food insecure or one crisis away, so COVID showed us when that crisis happens to everybody at one time,” Simms said.

The Hunger Coalition works with other community organizations in the Wood River Valley, helping connect people to other resources.

“We are more than just a food pantry,” Simms said. “The partners we have, when people come to us it isn’t necessarily just for food, so with the partners we have we are able to help lift them up of whatever situation they are experiencing.”

They aim to end the stigma around food insecurity because healthy food is a right for everyone.

“You just come, give your name, and if that is all you want to give, that’s all you have to give,” said Tommy Green, who is one of the contract workers for the Hunger Coalition. “It’s not about your background, what kind of car you are driving, bicycle, walking, anything, you just come, get your food and you are good.”

For more information on The Hunger Coalition, visit their website.

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