Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Blaine County Steps Up for the Hungry, Starts Coronavirus Hotline
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Who knew in January when the community turned out to support The Hunger Coalition’s Empty Bowls fundraiser that the need would be so great two months later.
 
Friday, March 20, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Blaine County Commissioners have authorized $25,000 from the county’s contingency account to address the rising demand for food from families facing layoffs and work slowdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county is allocating the money to The Hunger Coalition to feed those whose ability to take care of themselves is being challenged by the coronavirus.

The Hunger Coalition distributed food to 131 families—a 32 percent increase over recent months—on Monday alone. Many had just been laid off and have no idea when they will be able to return to work, said Jeanne Liston, executive director of The Hunger Coalition.

“It’s unclear how long we will need to be on the front lines at this increased level, but I would guess that it’s going to take months for people who have been laid off to get back on their feet,” she said. “While we may not be able to help with utilities or rent, we can help with good food that will allow them to free up funds to pay for fixed costs while keeping them healthy.”

The Hunger Coalition will use the funds to purchase more food and cover increased staff costs for distribution. The funds will also cover the purchase of such supplies as gloves and cleaning materials needed to help keep staff, volunteers and recipients safe.

Blaine County contracts with The Hunger Coalition to leverage the organization’s total effort to address food insecurity in Blaine County, which has the eighth highest food costs in the country. Blaine County has the highest cost of living in Idaho but below-average wages and many residents are considered one crisis away from not being able to cover basic needs.

This new authorization is in addition to the annual contracted amount.

“Blaine County government’s role is to promote the health, safety and welfare of the people, and this includes helping to address hunger,” said Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary.

In Boise Walmart and Tyson Foods donated a truckload containing 13,000 pounds of chicken to the Idaho Foodbank. The Foodbank  distributes food to more than 400 partners across the state, including The Hunger Coalition. Representatives say they have seen demand increased between 10 percent and 30 percent this week. And they expect it to increase even more over the next two months.

  • In other news:

Blaine County has established a COVID-19 INFORMATION HOTLINE at 208-788-5504. The hotline will provide help for those seeking information related to the local COVID-19 response, guidance from Blaine County and other agencies and other available resources.

The line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

 

~  Today's Topics ~


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