The Idaho Foodbank is the largest distributor of emergency free food in the state, with warehouses in Boise, Lewiston, and Pocatello.
We help Idaho children, seniors and families struggling with hunger and food insecurity.
Emergency food is distributed through our statewide partner network, which consists of nearly 210 charitable organizations such as shelters, church pantries, community kitchens and group homes. A branch warehouse in Lewiston serves north central Idaho. Eastern Idaho is served through the Pocatello warehouse, and the Boise facility supports southwest Idaho counties. In addition, The Idaho Foodbank delivers food into 30 rural Idaho communities every month, helping 3,000 households without access to community resources.
In our last fiscal year we distributed perishable and nonperishable food that helped provide 9,500,000 meals (11.4 million pounds of food) and helped an average of 116,000 individuals per month.
Programs and Services
Nutrition programs operated by The Idaho Foodbank strategically provide food directly to hungry children and families through the weekend Backpack program; Picnic in the Park summer lunches; School Pantries; and the Cooking Matters nutrition education classes.
The Backpack program provides weekend food support to elementary school children who live in food insecure homes. Each backpack contains two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks. The meals are child-friendly, nonperishable items which have been selected by our staff nutritionist for taste and to maintain nutrition while also being easy to prepare. All of the food for the Backpack program is purchased to ensure uniformity of quality, reliability and consistency.
The School Pantry program was created in response to information we collected from Backpack participant surveys. Of the children surveyed, 86% were sharing their backpack contents with other family members, which was not the intended use of the backpack meals. To address the issue of family-wide hunger, the Foodbank designed and implemented the School Pantry program during the 2010-2011 school year. Schools set aside a room for food items (provided by the Foodbank) where the entire family can access food when supplies at home run low. The program is intended to be used as a supplement the family’s food needs.
The Cooking Matters program teaches low-income families and individuals life skills such as food purchasing strategies to make healthy foods more affordable, how to prepare healthy and nutritious foods for taste and safety, and nutrition education to help them make the healthiest food choices
Getting the food to people in need.
As broad as our scope and scale might be, for every program we operate and every pound we deliver, it all depends on our ability to move food from point A to point B. If we cannot transport food, we cannot meet our mission.
We work to offset many of our expenses through operational efficiencies. Each year, we realize the benefit of thousands of volunteers who contribute their time and resources. Last year, our volunteers contributed 46,000 hours, the equivalent of 22 full-time positions.
Through our operating efficiencies, stalwart volunteers, growing relations and donations from our Grocery Alliance “fresh rescue” retail Program, Beef Counts, farmers and ranchers, The Idaho Foodbank works to ensure that 93 cents of every dollar goes toward providing food and direct assistance to people who need some help to get through some rough times.