Looking around the community for a Pay It Forward and knowing the holidays are approaching, KIDK Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz thought it would be a good idea to visit the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket.
It has a new executive director. Dave Manson has been on the job for just about three weeks. He said he loves the southeastern Idaho area because of the generosity of the surrounding community. Here's why: Manson said 43 percent of clients at the Food Basket are children under the age of 18 and 73 percent of those are preteens.
"The fact that when that is brought to the attention of our community, we have a generosity of spirit that is not matched anywhere. I would put it up against anybody in the country. And people step up to help their neighbors out," said Manson.
Most everyone is familiar with the distribution center for the Food Basket in downtown Idaho Falls where volunteers work tirelessly stocking shelves and prepping bags. This is where clients come to get their much-needed food. But did you know it all starts at the 13,800 square-foot storage warehouse?
"This all comes from the 'Scouting For Food' drive from the Boy Scouts," said Manson, showing Kunz around the facility and pointing to pallets of food.
Manson said 10 pallets will go to St. Vincent de Paul as a partner because it doesn't have a facility to store the food. Cornerstone Pentecostal Church has a small food pantry, so it will get a couple of pallets. The Salvation Army has 14 pallets stored here. And the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen has seven pallets coming its way.
"And the rest over here in the center that's not labeled is your distribution center downtown on Placer Avenue?" asked Kunz.
"Exactly," said Manson.
Manson said the warehouse is currently at about half capacity.
"We distribute between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds of food a day, about 50,000 pounds a month. So what you see in here will be gone quickly," said Manson.
A lot of it, he said, will end up feeding young kids. He added, that the Food Basket will give away more food in November and December than any other time of year. Of course, the holidays bring more awareness, attention and giving, but once they're gone and the new year rolls around...
"We tend to be forgotten a little bit. And the demand doesn't go away. The need doesn't go away," said Manson.
The incredible thing is, working with other partners and emergency food providers, they can actually take a $1 donation and stretch that to nearly $6.
Time to Pay It Forward, times six.
"And so because of that, between the donations that we receive of the food that you see here, as well as the dollar donations, we've been fortunate that for every dollar, we've been able to distribute $5.75 worth of food," said Manson.
"Dave, how are you?" said a man walking into the warehouse and interrupting the interview.
"Oh my gosh," said Manson, confused.
"Good. I'm Kory with Mountain America Credit Union," said Kory Carling.
"Kory," replied Manson.
"We've heard so much about what you and your organization has been doing for our community, that I'm here today to Pay It Forward," said Carling.
"What a shock!" said Manson.
"So I have brought with me today- $500 in cash," said Carling.
"Oh my gosh!" said Manson.
"That I know you can put to use," said Carling.
"Oh my gosh!" said Manson, interrupting Carling.
"Towards our community and helping people for the holidays," continued Carling.
"This is exactly what I'm talking about. Wow!" said Manson.
"So on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, thank you for all you do," said Carling.
"Mountain America Credit Union, Kory, you're fantastic!" said Manson.
"Thank you," said Carling.
"You are fantastic. Thank you so much and this is so timely. Thank you so much. That is amazing! And that is exactly what I'm talking about. The generosity of this community and the recognition, even for folks who may not know how big the need is, folks have a general sense that, hey, there are people out there that are hurting. There are families out there that are hurting. They're just stepping up. This is awesome. This is amazing! Thank you!" said Manson.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"Wow!" replied Manson.
The Food Basket is in need of some crucial items right now heading into the holidays. It is low on canned fruit, dry cereal, pasta, or any dry goods.
If you would like to donate or even volunteer, click here. You can also call the Food Basket on Placer Avenue at 208-524-0994.
"Pay It Forward" airs 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" on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.