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Feeding 5,000 Families organization holds annual progressive dinner

Saturday night was the annual interfaith progressive dinner.

It’s an annual fundraiser for the “Feeding 5,000 Families” organization. All money raised from the night goes to the Idaho Food Bank in Pocatello to help provide for those in need in Southeast Idaho.

Every dollar donated to the food bank can provide four meals to those in need.

Jolene Barnett-Stephens, the current chair, said the progressive dinner is one of the longest-running and most successful fundraisers each year.

On average, Stephens said they sell about 125 to 175 tickets. Tickets are $15 per person or $25 for a couple.

The dinner consisted of four stops at four different churches with four different faiths participating. Churches included the First Presbyterian Church, Central Christian Church, LDS chapel and St. John’s Catholic Center.

Stephens said they have been doing it for 20 years, making it one of the longest-running, continuous interfaith food drives in the U.S.

“We have such a good group of people in Pocatello and in Southeast Idaho that we’ve been doing this for 20 years so you can tell that we all are here for the common goal, we’re all here because we want to make our community better,” Stephens said.

“The faith community, the people that we get, this is one of the few places where you can get to know other people from other faiths really well and see what we have in common rather than what we have different,” said Karla Reynolds, a past chair for the event. “And we all strive to serve our community and the people who need food.”

Reynolds said this is also a great time of year for them to hold the drive because food bank donations tend to slow down in warmer months and after the holidays.

Reynolds said they are just grateful to have such a supportive community that keeps it coming back.

“Feeding 5,000 Families” will have one more fundraising event Sat. Apr. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Members will be at participating grocery stores where shoppers can buy an extra can of food and donate it to the food bank. Members will be at the following grocery stores: both Ridley locations in Pocatello, Smith’s in Chubbuck, Albertson’s in Pocatello, and Fred Meyer.

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