The Post Falls Food Bank started out very small in North Idaho. Now, they have extended to “operate out of a 4,000 square foot building… collecting over 1 million pounds of food a year” for Kootenai County.
Instead of distributing the food, the Post Falls Food Bank transformed into a “small ‘Mom and Pop’ style grocery market with registered guests traveling up and down [the] market aisles choosing the food they'd like.”
Executive Director, Leslie Orth, expands on the organization’s process: “All our guests are given a certain number of points with which to 'purchase' food every month. The food in the market is all assigned a point value and everyone has control over managing their budget and choosing the food items they like and need.” However, fresh produce is always “zero points with no limit.”
With the abundance of food collected each year, Orth and her team are able to collaborate with many other nonprofits. All contributions not needed for their market, the food bank distributes it to 20 different organizations’ “food pantries, soup kitchens, transitional living programs, and emergency shelters.”
During her two years at her position, Orth’s eyes have been opened to the many struggles the poverty stricken population encounters: “I've come to discover that families in poverty are typically very malnourished because they cannot afford certain foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and dairy. Their diet consists of affordable items such as dry and processed foods with little nutritional value.”
Orth hopes that the food bank’s programs, cooking classes, mobile health unit, and the market, will continue to grow and be able to serve more individuals and families.
Having outgrown their current space, the food bank is building new storage and looking for a larger location.
The Post Falls Food Bank focuses on addressing more than just the need for good food. We build relationships, supply information and referrals for other social service needs, will advocate for our clients with other government and nonprofit agencies, or just listen to the concerns of a young single mother, or a senior who doesn't have any family. When a guest leaves our food bank, they leave with more than a basket of food. They leave with the knowledge that they matter to us and that we are here to support them in all areas of their lives.
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