Morning News â€” Lisa Lete
Food pantry coordinator Rhonda Cheatham (left) and local volunteer Yvette Young work to organize food for pick up at the food pantry held weekly at the Blackfoot Senior Citizens Center. The pantry provides produce, dairy, meat, bread and canned food products for those in the area who need it.
BLACKFOOT â€” Helping to provide food to those who need it is a never ending job in Bingham County. Now some area food pantries have been consolidated to one location at the Blackfoot Senior Citizen Center (20 E. Pacific St.) for food pick-up every Thursday from 3-6 p.m.
According to Pam Beus, executive director of the Blackfoot Senior Center, the pantry food is provided by the Idaho Food Bank, Community Dinner Table, LDS Bishop's Storehouse and the Blackfoot Senior Citizen Center.
Beus said that the weekly mobile food pantry that used to take place at the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds has been eliminated and the Community Dinner Table suppers have ended for the season.
"Throw in the the fact that economy is still bad. There's a lack of jobs, wages are low and now sequester cutbacks are taking place hitting many of the people who need it the most. There is a great need for a food pantry in this community," Beus noted
In fact, Beus said that the demand for food from the pantry has been so great since the consolidation in February, that coordinators have been forced to limit people to food pick-up twice a month.
While proof of income is not required to get the food, Beus said that those picking up food must come in on the day of a pick-up and get a 'food card.'
Beus reminds the public of the ongoing need for cash and food donations to keep the pantries stocked, saying, "Cash donations help with overhead costs such as refrigeration and delivery but our biggest need is 'food in cupboards.' "
"As people are cleaning out their cupboards this spring and finding food that's been in there house for awhile that they probably won't eat, if it's still good, bring it in," she said.
Beus also reminds people who many be cleaning out someone's home who has passed away not to throw the food away. "A lot of people in this area have a great amount of food storage and when they pass away it just gets thrown away. If you're not going to use it...don't throw it away, donate it."
Beus urges anyone who can donate cash, food or time to help with the food pantry to call her at 785-4714.