The Idaho Foodbank has been helping people who are experiencing food insecurity since 1984. Now, the nonprofit's new facility in Meridian nears completion with the help of a large donation.
“We feel like this is meant to be,” said Idaho Foodbank Chief Development Officer Morgan Wilson. “This building perfectly fit our specifications and we are so excited to be able to better serve the community.”
The Foodbank focuses on healthy lifestyles and nutritious food. In the past it has had to turn away, on average, 2 million pounds of food a year because of a lack of storage space. The new facility was a perfect match because it already had large refrigerator and freezer rooms that are essential to the nonprofit. The new space will have four times the amount of refrigerator and freezer space than Idaho Foodbank had previously, and the nonprofit aims to distribute even more fresh produce to people in need.
Wilson said that usually people in Idaho experience times of hunger, not systemic hunger, with most people needing help for approximately nine months. However, it estimates there will be greater need in the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wilson said the organization has crunched the numbers before the pandemic, and believes Idaho is returning to pre-recession levels of food insecurity, where one in six adults will experience hunger and one in four kids. She said the new building isn’t a reaction to COVID-19, but some of the facilities the organization partners with have seen a greater need than others and, because the Foodbank partners with over 400 other organizations statewide, the new facility serves a significant need.
The building will also have a teaching kitchen, office space, conference rooms and a space for volunteers, who are the backbone of the organization. According to Wilson, other states have seen a decline in volunteers because of the pandemic, but she said Idaho volunteers have been going strong. The new building will ensure that all of the staff and volunteers are under one roof. Further, the architect and the builder worked to maximize the value of the site, and many of the subcontractors also donated their work and time.
The Foodbank has been looking for a new building for over five years due to the need for more storage space. The building comes from a large $1.88 million donation from the owner of the building Capitol Distributing Inc. and Jacksons Companies. The facility should be open by September and will enable the organization to help more people than ever before.
“We would love to go out of business but hunger is just a symptom of other issues,” said Wilson. “We offer people some relief from the mental and physical pain of hunger and now with this building we can do even more.”