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As Economy Continues To Struggle, Idaho Food Bank Sees Demand Increase

Tony Dejak
AP Images
Ohio National Guard Specialist Parris Roberts picks up a box of food at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank food distribution, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Cleveland. About 2,000 families signed up for food pickup Thursday at the food distribution site.


Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Idaho Foodbank has ramped up their efforts to fight food insecurity. The organization says their partners across the state have reported a 10-50% increase in food demand. 

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program is part of the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The goal is to get food from farmers and ranchers more quickly into the hands of food insecure Idahoans.


“Typically in a fiscal year for the Idaho Foodbank we will spend $200,000 to purchase food for the whole year," food bank president Karen Vauk tells Idaho Matters. "And in the last three months we’ve already spent $900,000.”


This Thursday the organization will distribute food to potentially thousands of folks in Boise. Unlike food stamps, the distribution this week will not require documentation. Vauk says families will drive up and two boxes of produce, meat, and dairy will be placed in the back of their cars. 


Vauk says working directly with farmers and ranchers allows them to knit the food supply chain back together after it was disrupted by the virus.


“By providing that supply chain for their products, we are not gonna see the fields being plowed under or the waste of the dairy product. It’s ensuring we are able to get this really great food to the families in need.”


The Idaho Foodbank’s drive-thru, contactless distribution is this Thursday at 3 p.m. at Expo Idaho (5610 N Glenwood St, Boise, ID 83714). 

As COVID-19 cases spread through the U.S. and Idaho, we’re committed to keeping you updated and informed. You can get updated info on cases, closures and how to stay healthy at any time on our Coronavirus news blog.


Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters


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Molly Wampler is a newsroom intern at Boise State Public Radio. Originally from Berkeley, California, she just graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Washington state. There, Molly worked for her university's newspaper but is stoked to try her hand at and learn all there is to learn about radio journalism.