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Awarded grants to fund Salmon River, Kamiah food banks’ efforts

Two Idaho County organizations received grants for efforts to provide hunger relief. The Kamiah Senior Meal Site and Salmon River Senior Citizens, Inc. were among 34 organizations awarded funding through the Idaho Food Bank Fund.

Salmon River Senior Citizens was awarded $1,518.86 to assist with the Riggins Food Pantry. The Kamiah Senior Meal Site was offered a $5,000 grant to continue providing meals onsite and through home delivered meals.

Grant applications were accepted from any qualified Idaho 501(c)3 nonprofit providing hunger relief. The fund supports projects to expand existing food storage or distribution capacities, provide nutrition education, or otherwise increase support services related to hunger relief statewide.

“We plan to continue and expand services that the food bank and the pantry offers our community,” said Linda Hieter, Salmon River volunteer development officer, about the grant funds.

The money will be used to purchase new coolers, freezer blankets and consumables used to repackage bulk items for distribution. Hieter said the group also hoped to purchase tents.

Food is currently delivered to a parking lot and stored in bins and then distributed at that site. The tents would protect the food and the volunteers and recipients.

“We’re going to need that to move forward with plans we have to grow operations,” Hieter said.

The grant request included an additional $500 to cover that purchase. However, the Idaho Food Bank Fund received more requests than the previous year and were not able to fully fund each request.

Donations through the Idaho State Income Tax Form 40 allows taxpayers to donate to the fund. Mike Sharp, public relations for Idaho Food Bank Fund, said in a press release the organization received $88,800 this year, down from $90,000 in 2015 and $110,496 in 2014.

A study released in July 2016 by the Idaho Food Bank shows food insecurity in North Central Idaho declined from the previous year but remained higher than the state rate.

Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Food pantries and meals through organizations such as the Salmon River Senior Citizens and Kamiah Senior Meal Site work to resolve this issue in local communities.

The food insecurity rate in North Central Idaho was 16.3 percent, or 2,660 people. The report also shows the state’s insecurity rate was 14.7 percent of the total population, or 241,080 people. Both the north central region and the state saw a decrease in food insecurity from the previous year. North central Idaho was down from 17.3 percent, or 2,820 people, and the state dropped from 15.6 percent, or 250,830 people.

The food insecurity rates for children were higher in 2014, the year for which data was reported, than the previous year. In north central Idaho, food insecurity rates were 22.0 percent, or 740 children. In the state, 19.3 percent or 83,110 children were food insecure. For this study, children are listed as individuals under the age of 18.

Food insecurity rates in 2014 for the surrounding counties are: Adams, 17.4 percent or 680; Clearwater, 16.9 percent or 1,460; Lemhi, 18.5 percent or 1,450; Lewis, 15.4 percent or 590; Nez Perce, 14.7 percent or 5,830; and Valley, 15.4 percent or 1,490.

Rates for children in the surrounding county rates are: Adams, 23.9 percent or 170; Clearwater, 23.7 percent or 320; Lemhi, 26.7 percent or 390; Lewis, 20.9 percent or 170; Nez Perce, 19.1 percent or 1,620; and Valley, 18.8 percent or 360.


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