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Magic Valley food pantries see ongoing increase in residents needing food

“Either it’s going to be really good as far as donations that we can keep up with the demand or people are just going to get so tight that there are other things right now.”
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 11:00 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Food pantries across the Magic Valley are continuing to see an increase in the need for food, especially after the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits ran out.

KMVT is putting you first by sharing the reality facing thousands of Magic Valley residents.

When walking into Martha and Mary’s Food Pantry of Jerome, the public is not only greeted by the many shelves stocked with food, but also a large display made up of hundreds of American flags.

Each flag represents a family who received food from the USDA farmers to families program. These flags represent just a fraction of the need that exists. In just the month of August, 10 different Magic Valley food pantries gave out a total of 5,290 food boxes.

“Even in our diversity we can have unity, and that’s what this represents it is the unity of all the families,” said Jeff Schroeder with Martha and Mary’s Food Pantry. “There are Republican, Democrats, there is Hispanic, there is Anglos, I mean everyone that comes into our pantry, it doesn’t matter, we are all in this together.”

The increased need for food has not stopped since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In particular Martha and Mary’s saw 396 families come in for food in April, which was when things first started to get busy, and just last month that amount nearly doubled with more than 700 families coming in.

“I think the demand is always going to be there,” Schroeder said. “I think the supply should be there. I think in the United States we waste a lot of food, and that’s another thing we do here is, instead of just throwing the food out, we get it to people that could use it.”

The story is mostly the same for the South Central Community Action Partnership that said August seemed to be one of its busiest months.

“Probably a relation to the $600 extra supplement for unemployment ending, and people needing that extra food support,” said Randy Wastradowski, the community service director at SCCAP.

Luckily food pantries have the supply to meet the demand through various government and state programs, and many generous donors, although things are very uncertain as the year progresses, especially with the holidays just a few months away.

“We can see a couple of things happening, either it’s going to be really good as far as donations that we can keep up with the demand or people are just going to get so tight that there are other things right now,” Wastradowski said.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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