Every Wednesday afternoon families are welcomed by friendly faces to the Blackfoot Community Food Pantry. For some, the pantry provides essential meals that the family would struggle to find elsewhere. For others, it helps offset the monthly food budget so that necessary bills can be paid. To provide this service to those in need, there is a host of volunteers working behind the scenes on a regular basis each week.
The week starts on Monday when milk is picked up at the LDS Bishops Storehouse in Blackfoot and hauled to the pantry. Food donations can be received any day of the week (if arranged) but the big effort takes place each Wednesday.
In the morning, a crew first stops at Walmart and Ridley’s to pick up the day old items (via Feeding America and the Idaho FoodBank) and takes them to the Food Pantry to prepare for the distribution that afternoon. Boxes of food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, bakery items, meat, drinks, eggs, beans, rice, desserts, and various dairy products are sorted and organized.
Soon after, volunteers are traveling to the Idaho FoodBank warehouse in Pocatello where donations are picked up, loaded into a trailer and hauled back to the Pantry. By then the afternoon shift has assembled to unload the trailer, then haul, sort and organize the new products for either immediate distribution that afternoon or to be stored for use the following week (or in preparation for the Christmas food boxes during November and December).
When final preparations have been made the volunteers assemble for final instructions and the food distribution begins at 3:00 PM. Patrons start assembling early in the afternoon. When distribution starts each person signs in and gives family size information to our administrative volunteers as they begin to receive a defined set of food products, appropriate for the family and based on available supplies. The process continues until 6:00 PM when clean up begins.
The week ends when volunteers come back on Friday to do a final cleaning and prepare the process to begin again the following Monday. This process is repeated every week of the year (except for the Wednesdays before and after Christmas).
We would like to recognize the tremendous time and effort given by the many volunteers who are helping feed the hungry in our community. We thank you and appreciate your service. Special thanks also go to Ronda Cheatham, Chris Capson and Jerrilyn Tovey who are the driving force behind this effort.