Hunger Free: Rural food banks provide support in small communities

Helping Hears & Hands in Gooding has been serving the community for over 20 years.
Helping Hearts and Hands Food Pantry and Resource Center opened back in 2002.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 11:24 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GOODING, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Helping Hearts and Hands Food Pantry and Resource Center opened back in 2002, when the area churches of Gooding consolidated all their individual food banks into one centralized version.

Currently the food bank serves between 170 and 180 families a month and covers more than just the town of Gooding.

“We do serve, in addition to Gooding, people from Wendell and Bliss. We just ask if they’re coming here to Gooding for our food bank, that they don’t hit the other food banks as well. But we have several clients from Bliss and Wendell, as well as Gooding,” Bette Wunderle, one of the food bank organizers said.

Helping Hearts and Hands also offers a program for kids in school to take home premade bags of food for the weekends when some may not know where their next meal is coming from. The items included are all easy enough so that kids are able to make them on their own.

The food bank also does around 90 senior boxes each month for those that live alone and maybe can’t get around as great as they once could.

Even though it is called a food bank, they offer much more resources than just food or drink, especially heading into wintertime.

“We will start giving out coats to children in need of coats for wintertime. They just need a referral and can come on down. We also have blankets, and many community members bring in washed, good used clothing. Families, as they come in for food, are able to help themselves and take what they need,” Wunderle said.

Also, during winter Helping Hearts and Hands does about 250 holiday meal boxes, so families can enjoy a nice meal on those special occasions.

Helping Hearts and Hands is always seeking donations and are open on Monday from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

More information can be found at Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste website.