North Idaho Food Banks See Fewer Donations During Holidays

Jan 3, 2017

 A northern Idaho food bank is hungry for donations after it saw fewer donations over the holiday season.

Lewiston's Community Action Partnership Food Bank hasn't calculated totals for 2016, but Director Connie Granbois said donations were down a bit through December, The Lewiston Tribune reported.

Food bank warehouse manager Steve Small said food drives that traditionally bring in many donations either weren't as successful as expected or didn't happen.

"If we don't get more donations than we have now, these shelves are going to be scary empty," Small said.

The Community Action Partnership Food Bank distributes up to three food boxes a year to individuals and families and provides weekly distribution of perishable items through its clearinghouse program, which is stocked largely with donations from grocery stores and restaurants.

The food bank served more than 26,000 households with the clearinghouse program in 2015 and more than 24,000 individuals received food boxes.

Community Action Partnership isn't the only bank that saw less generosity this season. Asotin County Food Bank Director Joanne Huntley said need is up and donations are down. The Clarkston-based food bank helped an average 500 families a month in 2016, a slight increase over 2015.

Huntley said donations often drop a bit after Christmas.

"There is some slack time there that we can always use more donations in that first part of the year," she said. "We always hope that what we get is going to carry us through."

However, Manager Chico McKinney said the Idaho Foodbank's north central Idaho branch took in more donations than usual last year.

"It's a little bit leaner for donations, definitely, after the holidays," he said. "We forecast that and plan for it."

The warehouse helps supply food distribution sites in Nez Perce, Clearwater, Idaho, Lewis and Latah counties. The Idaho Foodbank also serves about 600 families with a mobile pantry at 10 locations in north central Idaho, including Lapwai, Lenore and Potlatch.

The supplies at Idaho Foodbank could mean more for Granbois' organization, since the Idaho Foodbank helps supply area distribution sites.

"They are welcome to order from us as frequently as they need," McKinney said. "When we get a surplus of goods, we make sure that they know about it. We're all partners, and what benefits us benefits the region."