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Pay It Forward: Rigby Senior Citizen

Rigby Senior Center
Todd Kunz

RIGBY, Idaho (KXPI) - A local senior center goes beyond the building and reaches out into the surrounding area with a meals on wheels program and a food distribution program.

Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz was there for food distribution day, and talked with the organizer, some of the volunteers, and even a food recipient. And to Pay It Forward.

"There is a need and it's kind of... it kind of comes and goes. It fluctuates," said Liz Pennell, the organizer of the Rigby Senior Center. She is talking about food insecurity in our elderly. As a way to help keep them healthy and fed, they have a Meals on Wheels program and a food distribution program, but it takes a lot of helpers. One of those volunteers is Bonnie Hunting.

"I go to the store and I help pick-up the food and bring it over here and distribute it out," said Hunting.

"And what do you see from the people that come here?" asked Kunz.

"I see sparks. Their eyes just sparkle up some of them. They're just tickled to get it, because they really can't afford to buy it. They're just tickled pink. It's rewarding, really rewarding," she said.

"The thing that I've seen is that people come in with this sad look, and they are wondering how they are going to feed their family, and they go out with tears going down their cheeks because they have the food to feed their family," added Pennell. She said the food donations come from a contract with Broulim's, but there are others that help. The donations mean the world to families.

"I think some people would have it harder than they already got it," said Pennell.

At age 95, Lida Staggs is one of the food recipients.

"So this has helped you a lot," Kunz asked Staggs.

"It helps me a lot because I know that I've got the basics -- bread, milk, cheese, and meat. We have meat from the big food bank the second Tuesday of each month. And I get the Meals on Wheels," said Staggs.

"You sound very grateful," said Kunz.

"Uh, you can't imagine," said Staggs.

Time to Pay It Forward.

"You're message to the surrounding area when it comes to this program? What is it?" Kunz asked Pennell, as a woman walked into the the senior center.

"Are you Liz?" asked the woman.

"Yeah, and I'm on camera," replied Pennell.

"I know. I'm Cassey (Leatham) with Mountain America Credit Union, and I'm here to give you a Pay It Forward," said the woman, handing Pennell an envelope. "That's what we're here for today. We just want to thank you for all the work you do for the Rigby Senior Center, the Meals on Wheels program, and the food distribution program. We really appreciate it and hope this helps," she added.

"OK. Thank you!" said Pennell, taking the envelope.

"You're welcome," said Leatham.

"(I) appreciate it, but you didn't have to do it, didn't have to do it," said Pennell, as the people in the room applauded.

Five-hundred dollars was in that envelope that will go toward the food distribution and the Meals on Wheels programs.

The Rigby Senior Center is looking for volunteers to help with the food distribution program the second Tuesday of each month. Contact Liz Pennell at 208-351-2507.

"Pay It Forward" stories 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 "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 Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at

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Todd Kunz

Todd is an anchor for Local News 8.


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