Community Food Basket

Community Food Basket
Logo of Community Food Basket logo online.

Dakota Nielson, Reporter

 

In Idaho Falls we have resources for those who might need a little bit of help providing for their families. One specific place I’m talking about

is the Idaho Falls Community Basket. Not only do they provide food for those in need, but they also provide so much more. Feminine

products, hygiene products, clothes and they have a diaper drive. The support is open for anyone who needs it. How the food bank or aka the

“distribution center” works is a number of very simple steps. First, they ask your name, the number of children and adults in your household,

if there are any infants they ask if you need diapers, formula, or Pedialyte, then they give you a bag and they allow you to take as much bread

as you need while the volunteers get your meat, vegetables, milk, and meals that are all donated. 

How the distribution part works, is there is a warehouse, where they separate the donated products into individual boxes like macaroni and

cheese, vegetables, fruits, dry pasta, and the list goes on and on. On the more saddening and surprising or not so surprising side of the whole

thing, there are some people who decide to take advantage of the system and greatly exaggerate how many people actually live with them, if

any. But even with knowing this, they never turn anyone down and try to help just as much as they help everyone else. 

 

I asked one of the directors of the food basket Mrs. Ariel Jackson some questions about her experience working for the basket and just some

general questions to get some insight about how donations and volunteering and how much it helps the basket and the volunteers. One of the

questions I asked was “How has working here impacted your life” and her response was “Feeding people who are struggling provides not

only food to a family but also the relief and room in a person’s mind that food is on the table so they are now free to tackle other challenges

they are facing. Now I can figure out how to get to work, get my kids to school, pay the rent because our meals are taken care of. I know we

will never be the group that solves world hunger, but, if we can help someone get through today and be able to tackle tomorrow, I feel like I

have done what I set out to do. Most of the people I know are just 1 paycheck away from needing assistance. That is a stressful and scary

place to be in. If we can help ease some of that stress and keep kids fed at the same time, I am fulfilled” she stated while explaining how

much the food basket can help a single person more than they think. 

 

Again, I asked Mrs. Jackson for some more insight and more depth about why she chose to work at the basket and how it may have affected

her life. The question I asked her was “what motivated you to work at the food basket and distribution center”? Her touching response was

definitely a tear jerker. Jackson stated, “ When my 3 kids were very little (they are in their 20’s now and in college), I got divorced and had

not been working. I relied on food banks while I was attending college online, doing homework while my kids slept and laundry was going.

After graduating from college I knew that helping people that are struggling to move on to something better was what I needed to be doing.

I started in Social Service work 10 years ago and have never looked back”. At the CFBIF (community food basket of Idaho falls) there are

different positions at the offices. And those positions belong to Ariel Jackson (executive director) John Jones (operations manager) Autumn

Moore (executive assistant) which may sound like a boring assistant job but is actually much bigger than that. She is in charge of the

community diaper drive and helps at the office, warehouse, and distribution center. And last but not least, we have Les McDaniel, the truck

driver for “food rescue” who goes to the food donors (unable to be named) and loads up all the donated food and materials to bring back to

the warehouse to be sorted and ready to go to the distribution center. 

 

All in all, Idaho Falls is an amazing place to be and an amazing place to get help. There are multiple food banks who are always there for

anyone and everyone who needs the little lift up. Again, they give so much more than food. There is a diaper bank, their facebook page has

mattresses, feminine hygiene products, shampoo and conditioner and laundry supplies. No one here is going to judge you or look down upon

you. They just want you to be taken care of and no family should ever go hungry or go without something they are in desperate need of. The

volunteers are what make it all happen. John, Ariel, and Autumn all rely on the volunteers to give their time to the food bank and most

volunteers come from churches all throughout Idaho falls. “So if someone has the time, we have a spot to volunteer” said Mrs. Jackson in an

interview I had conducted with her. 

 

I would like to conclude my piece by saying that no matter how much you are struggling, there will be help available and not only at the food

bank but at schools as well because everyone deserves a full stomach when they go to bed and wake up. And the Idaho Falls Community food

basket is here to make that happen. Especially during holidays where schools do their food drives. Those cans and non-perishable items

might make someone’s day or holiday better after you’ve donated even the smallest thing. One can or one jar of peanut butter goes a very

long way. So, no matter what time of year it is, it’s never too late to donate or to volunteer.