IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIDK/KXPI) - The Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen had to temporarily shut down recently because of COVID-19 safety concerns. But KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz found a church in Idaho Falls, whose members are stepping up to help the needy and the homeless.
He wanted to see how they are doing it and to help them Pay It Forward.
"The First Christian Church here is feeding those in need, filling that gap. We're just going to barge in and surprise them. What do you say Kory?" said Kunz standing outside the church with Kory Carling from Mountain America Credit Union.
"I think it's going to be awesome. Let's see what we can do," said Carling.
"Alright. Here we go. Let's go," replied Kunz.
"Good morning," said Kunz, shouting loudly to a woman as he and Carling walked up to the church.
"Good morning," said the woman.
"Are you Pastor Dawn Marie Turner?" asked Kunz.
"Yes, I am," replied the woman.
"Pastor Turner, Todd Kunz."
"Yes?" said Turner, with some hesitation.
"Channel 3 KIDK Eyewitness News 3. I have a friend of mine here," said Kunz, passing the microphone to Carling standing next to him.
"Hi, I'm Kory with Mountain America Credit Union," said Carling.
"Hello," said Turner, with even more question.
"And we've heard about what you're doing with our community and stepping up to feed those in need and so we're here today to Pay It Forward. So I've brought with me today $500 in cash," said Carling.
"Oh my goodness!" said Turner.
"That I know that you can use to continue to feed our community and help those around us. And so on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, we'd like to Pay It Forward for your generosity to our community," said Carling.
"Well, thank you!" said Turner.
"Thank you for all that you do," said Carling.
"This is going to feed so many people," said Turner.
"That's awesome," said Carling.
"I'm overwhelmed. Thank you," said Turner.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"This is a blessing," said Turner.
"Why did you do this?" Kunz asked Turner, referring to the table full of food and their efforts to feed the hungry.
"It was the right thing to do. We knew people would go hungry. People rely on that one meal, maybe two if they go to The Refuge and without it, they would be going hungry. We see kids standing in that line and no one should ever have to go hungry. No one. And to be able to have a hot meal, nutritional, not just a sandwich to hand out, but something warm and from the heart is what we wanted to do," said Turner.
"What does this mean for the people you serve and for your organization?" asked Kunz.
"It means that we can serve more and we can do more and we can last longer for them," replied Turner.
The First Christian Church has prepared and distributed more than 70 meals per day since taking on the project last week and the word is getting out. The meals are available at the church at 1800 12th Street in Idaho Falls from noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you are interested in contributing to the lunch program, contact Pastor Turner through the First Christian Church Facebook page.
The church also teamed up the Idaho Falls Blessings Facebook group to help with other needs like clothing and hygiene items.
"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 "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to KIDK Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at email@example.com.