In response to the slowing economy and the needs that arise because of it, the Hunger Coalition will distribute food through its new mobile food bank.
"This shift in organizational strategy will immediately benefit local people and families in need of assistance," said Executive Director Jeanne Liston.
Liston said food is the primary area in which financially struggling families cut costs, resulting in hunger and even childhood malnutrition.
The amount of food given by the Hunger Coalition to Blaine County residents in 2008 more than tripled over the previous year, from 18,000 pounds in 2007 to 72,000 pounds in 2008. The Hunger Coalition provided about 61,500 meals in 2008 compared to 14,500 in 2007. Forty-four percent of those served were children, and of those, more than half were under age 5.
Those in need of the Hunger Coalition's programs must qualify for a food punch-card through one of the valley's referral services. For a list of referral agencies, call 788-0121 or go to hungercoalition.org, click on "What We Are Doing" and then "Food Assistance."
The Hunger Coalition's goal is to move people out of the cycles of hunger and poverty and toward economic stability by connecting them with both food and other resources.
"With the loss of so many jobs, a growing number of residents are finding that they are unable to meet Blaine County's exceedingly high cost of living," Liston said. "Sadly, the number of those in need is forecast to grow as the economy worsens."
Dana DuGan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Food Bank and hot meals
Mobile food bank calendar
Monday: From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Carey High School north back lot,
20 Panther Lane, Carey. From 2-4 p.m., South Central Public Health parking lot,
117 Ash St., Bellevue.
Tuesday: From 3-6 p.m., The Hunger Coalition,
21 Comet Lane, airport industrial district, Hailey.
Thursday: From 3-5 p.m. YMCA north parking lot,
101 Saddle Rd., Ketchum.
Friday: From 3-5 p.m. Park and Ride lot,
corner of River and Bullion streets, Hailey.
· Ketchum Community Dinner
Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood
Soup Kitchen, every Wednesday, 6-7 p.m.
100 Saddle Rd., Ketchum, 720-8212
· Souper Supper
St. Charles Parish Hall
Soup Kitchen, every Monday and Thursday 5:30-6:30 p.m.
311 First Ave. S., Hailey