SANDPOINT — Many families throughout North Idaho struggle to get enough healthy food every day. In Bonner County, 16.9 percent of the population struggle with hunger, looking to their local food banks to fill the gap.
The Bonner Community Food Bank in Sandpoint provides services to 900 area families, feeding more than 2,500 individuals each month. More than 1,000 of those are children. This Thursday, community members have an extra chance to pick up some nutritious meal items when Second Harvest's Mobile Market rolls into town.
"Second Harvest’s Mobile Market provides a meaningful response to the complex problem of hunger facing families, children and seniors," said Second Harvest officials in a statement Monday.
A refrigerated truck serves as a temporary food bank at church parking lots, community centers, schools and other locations in high-need neighborhood and towns. Second Harvest fills the truck with thousands of pounds of donated fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, bread, cereal and other staples.
Volunteers are on hand to help set up food on tables — farmers’ market style — to make it easy for people to choose what they need and will eat. In just a couple of hours, the food is distributed to 50 to 250 families.
Second Harvest serves a huge geographical area spanning 26 counties, including 21 in Eastern Washington and 5 in North Idaho, working to efficiently move donated food to rural and hard-to-reach outlying communities from distribution centers in Spokane and Pasco.
In Bonner County, Second Harvest provides food to the Bonner Community Food Bank, Clark Fork Food Bank, Kinderhaven, Priest Lake Food Pantry, Priest River Food Bank, Senior Hospitality Center, West Bonner County Food Bank and the Second Harvest Mobile Food Bank. In 2016, Second Harvest provided 585,988 pounds of food to Bonner County families and individuals in need. The Bonner Community Food Bank alone received 366,313 pounds from Second Harvest last year.
Farmers and growers in Eastern Washington, "with hearts for hungry people," have formed strong partnerships with Second Harvest, donating bulk loads of fresh produce, the statement says. Those partnerships allow Second Harvest to make nutritious food more accessible to low-income people and others who don’t regularly eat the standard recommended servings of fruits and vegetables because they can’t afford them.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines, an adult consuming 2,000 calories per day should be eating 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit per day.
The Second Harvest Mobile Market will be in town from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Thursday at First Lutheran Church, 526 S. Olive Ave.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.