Not many people know the Idaho Falls Senior Center has a home-delivered meals program. Executive Director Valisa Say has been at the center for nine years and she has seen the need grow.
"And until you are in that situation or you have parents that are in that situation, you don't even know we exist," said Say.
A little more than 200 meals are cooked up, packaged and sealed, loaded, and delivered every weekday to areas of Bonneville County and an even greater number on the weekends to carry the recipient through.
"It's one-third of the recommended daily allowance, the lunch. And it is only a lunch, but it's better than them eating cereal for lunch or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sorry. We had one gentleman that said he survived on hamburgers until he got on our system," said Say.
It's more than just a meal. It's a wellness check, and for some it is their only source of social interaction with the outside world.
"So yes, absolutely. They get to know their driver because it's the same driver day in and day out and man they are waiting for that driver to come and talk to them, social interaction. Absolutely," said Say.
You can imagine expenses are high and funds are tight. They get some help from Bonneville County, the Nutrition Service Incentive Program, the Older Americans Act of 1965, Medicaid, The United Way, and the city of Idaho Falls gives them the building and utilities for just $1 a year.
It's time to pay it forward.
"Valisa, how are you?" said Kory Carling with Mountain America Credit Union.
"OK?" said Say, questioning herself as Carling stepped out from behind one of the meal delivery vans.
"Good, I'm Kory. This is Angie and we're with Mountain America Credit Union," said Carling.
"OK?" said Say, still wondering what was happening.
"We've heard a lot about your organization and what you've been able to accomplish with all the meals that you are able to deliver," said Carling.
"OK," said Say.
"And we'd like to help you out by paying it forward," said Carling.
"OK," said Say, as she begins to figure out what's going on.
"So we've actually brought with us today, $500 in cash that we want to help support you and your cause," said Carling.
"Oh my God," said Say, as tears begin to well up.
"And we hope this will go to providing some more meals for those individuals in need," said Carling.
"Oh Lord. That's awesome," said Say.
"So with that, thank you for all you do for the community. We are glad to be a part of it," said Carling.
"Oh, you guys are so awesome. Thank you," said Say.
"You're welcome," said Angie Nelson with Mountain America Credit Union.
"Our pleasure," said Carling.
"Thank you for what you do," said Nelson.
"I'm sorry. I get. I'm real emotional when it comes. I'm so sorry. That's awesome," said Say.
To qualify for the home-delivered meals, you must be 60 or older and not drive on a daily basis. If you have to drive yourself to the doctor once in awhile, that's OK. Then you call EICAP at 208-522-5391. The senior center is always looking for volunteers. They can also use any donations, whether it be monetary or items for their rummage sale.
"Pay It Forward" will air the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" off to the right side of our website and fill out the form or send an email to Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.