Valley County families struggling to survive

Valley County families struggling to survive

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by Kim Fields

Bio | Email | Follow: @KimFieldsKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 8, 2011 at 7:31 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 11:34 PM

DONNELLY -- This Saturday is our annual 7Cares Day to benefit those in need. Part of your donations will go to the Idaho Foodbank which serves 39 counties throughout Idaho, including Valley County.

In the small town of Donnelly -- inside an old, condemned red house -- is the Calvary Christian Center, where their motto is:

"We just serve anybody in need," said Sharon McKee, volunteer at Calvary Christian Center.

This week, volunteers handed out food to 60 families -- almost half the size of the town.

"The need has grown so incredibly much with just the loss of jobs,” said McKee. "So many people are struggling that they just have this need that they can't really keep up with.”

Valley County has been hit hard by the struggling economy. It has the second-highest unemployment rate in the state at 14.9 percent. One in five is considered food insecure. 

And the county boosts one of the highest per-meal costs in the nation at $4.18 -- compared to a national average of $2.54.

The need is so great, McKee says families line up the one day a week food is handed out.

"Typically, yes at nine o'clock, they'll be waiting," said McKee.

Each gets enough food for two meals, depending on how full the shelves are here.

"They know that if they don't get here early they probably aren't going to get milk and eggs," said McKee.

Fifteen miles south of Donnelly is the Cascade Food Pantry.  They opened in January to an unbelievable response.

"When we first started there was a line down the street and around Wheeler's when we first opened.  People were afraid we were going to run out of food," said Lori Anderson with the Cascade Food Pantry.

This pantry is open twice a month.  On their busiest day in April, Anderson says they gave out 180 boxes of food.  This week, 270 people came by and 143 boxes were distributed.

"In a town this size, that's a lot of families, you gotta see that because there's only a thousand people in the town," said Anderson.

Both pantries get the majority of their food donations from the Idaho Foodbank, but a lot on these shelves also comes from within the community and churches.

"If it wasn't for our donations we would really be suffering a lot more than we are," said McKee.

And with the help of the community and volunteers like Lori and Sharon, hopefully everyone who needs it will receive a helping hand.

If you can't make it out to 7Cares Day on Saturday, you can give a $10 donation to our 7Cares fund by texting "7Cares" to 50555.

We will split the donation between the Salvation Army, as well as the Idaho Foodbank, the Boise Rescue Mission, and the Jubilee House in Twin Falls.
 

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