Community Food Basket-Idaho Falls is a local nonprofit that helps more than 1,000 families each month. Ariel Jackson, the executive director of the organization, said she was first connected with Community Food Basket when she was in need.
“About 10 years ago, I was a newly divorced single mom with three little kids under the age of 5. I was trying to go to college online to get us out of that low-income hole that we were in… while I was college, I discovered that I needed the assistance of the Food Basket,” Jackson said.
Jackson graduated college and started working in the field of nonprofit organizations. She has been the executive director of Community Food Basket-Idaho Falls for three years. While she has only been there a few years, the organization has been in the community for more than 40 years.
“[The nonprofit] started with some little church ladies who were stashing food under their desks for some of their congregation that were in need,” Jackson said.
Community Food Basket has grown over the last 40 years to be the second largest food pantry in Idaho. They feed anyone who has food insecurity and is unsure how they can feed themselves or their family.
“We are able to provide at least a week’s worth of food for a family of four, that’s kind of our standard. So, each family that comes to visit us is leaving with more than 100 pounds of food,” Jackson said.
Among the food provided is shelf stable food, fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen meat, dairy products, bread and more. Jackson said a nutritionist put the menu together to ensure families are meeting their caloric needs.
“Our emergency food resource is meant to get you through a crisis. Let’s say your car breaks down and you have to use your rent money to fix your car. Now, you have to use your food money to pay rent, by now you still need food. We can get you through that crisis,” Jackson said.
If you or someone you know needs food assistance, more information is available online at communityfoodbasketidahofalls.org or click here.
Community Food Basket-Idaho Falls is always looking for new volunteers. You can volunteer in a variety of ways, including setting up a sorting party with your friends at the warehouse to prepare food to be given to people in need. You can also help other volunteers go through rescued food from local grocery stores or you can host a food drive.
Donations are welcome at Community Food Basket. They have a few unique ways of helping any donations go a long way. They can make a $1 donation stretch to $4.80 worth of food.
“Our greatest example is that we bought a pallet of mac and cheese a couple of years ago for three cents a box,” Jackson said.
More information about volunteer opportunities or to donate is available online here.