Saturday, May 27, 2023

Enough to feed an army

Staff Writer | May 25, 2023 1:00 AM

POST FALLS — A smile spread across Mike Stewart's face as he carefully sliced into a cardboard box containing small cartons of shelf-stable milk.

"I can't tell you what this means to us," said Stewart, who serves as the pantry manager for Newby-ginnings of North Idaho. "All we need now is a bigger warehouse."

A bigger warehouse would be helpful to store the 12 tons of food delivered May 17, to the Post Falls nonprofit, which provides support and resources at no cost to veterans and military families.

Pork and beans, applesauce, peanut butter, pears, spaghetti sauce, pasta and other pantry staples were among the 12 pallets of food sent to Newby-ginnings by members of the Church of Latter-day Saints.

"We're going to distribute it to our families," Newby-ginnings founder Theresa Hart said.

Her organization serves more than 5,500 families at this time.

"Most, if not all of the people that come here, come for food," Hart said.

Newby-ginnings has been building up its pantry and ability to provide food when clients and families are in need, although the food doesn't last long. It works with Union Gospel Mission and the Post Falls Food Bank to fill those needs.

"This is probably the biggest thing we've ever had for our pantry," she said, watching pallets be unloaded by a beeping forklift.

"This is a windfall for us, this is going to last a long time," Hart said. "This is stuff that's going to make a meal."

LDS charities sponsors service projects in 160 countries to relieve food insecurity, improve access to clean water and sanitation equipment, eliminate disease through immunization, respond to emergencies, support refugees and provide wheelchairs and eye care services for those in need. Funds that are donated by church members through the church's Humanitarian Fund make these far-reaching impacts possible.

Hart said when church members came for a tour a while back, the next thing she knew they were regularly volunteering.

"These young men are like machines, and they're here like twice a week to help out," she said. "We love them."

Tim Bastedo, second counselor in the Post Falls Stake presidency, said the church likes to have a plethora of resources for those in need.

"They have the opportunity to get the word out if they have extra or means, or if there's somebody in the community that might use it," he said. "We do a lot of stuff with Newby-ginnings here, and with the food bank. So we reached out, they said, 'Yeah, we'd love to have some food,' so we were able to get with headquarters in Salt Lake City and have them bring up the truck. It worked out great."

The giving continued at the Post Falls Food Bank, where another roughly 24,000 pounds of food, such as cheese, eggs and milk, were distributed by LDS members to help the food bank in its mission to stave off hunger in the community.

Post Falls Food Bank Executive Director Leslie Orth said the volume of people using the food bank at this time is high and steady.

"We average 75-100 families every day, five days a week," she said. "The amount of food that each family is taking has increased."

She said families are more heavily relying on the Third Avenue Market for fresh produce and dairy.

"Usually we are supplemental, so they will come in, get what they can and go to the store with their money," she said, adding that she is seeing indicators that families have less money in their pockets.

"At the end of the day we're like, 'Wow there's like nothing in here,'" Orth said.

She said the gift from the church is a boon to the food bank.

"It's huge at this time," she said. "People do forget about nonprofits and food in particular. The holidays are over and people get on with their lives."

She said the church has partnered with the food bank for many years, providing volunteers for that site as well as the Post Falls Senior Center.

"They are a huge blessing," she said. "They are our constants and just quality people."



Theresa Hart and Randy Whittenburg of Newby-ginnings of North Idaho begin unpacking cans of pears May 17 after receiving 24,000 pounds of food donations from members of the Church of Latter-day Saints.



Mike Masters of Perfection Traffic Control helps move pallets of spaghetti sauce May 17 at Newby-ginnings of North Idaho in Post Falls.



Post Falls Food Bank warehouse employee Steven Magnuson moves a big pallet of cheese Wednesday, May 17 after the nonprofit received about 24,000 pounds of food donated by members of the Church of Latter-day Saints.

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