BURLEY — Hungry people across the Magic Valley will find a little relief after Dot Foods donated $30,000 worth of food to six pantries.
Company officials and representatives from two of the pantries met Wednesday for a ceremony celebrating the company’s third Neighbor-to-Neighbor program held in Burley.
“This is a real blessing to the members of our community,” said Alicia Tellez, with the Community Council of Idaho in Burley. “The employees that delivered the food were great. I don’t know if you put it in your training program but they had great spirit.”
The other recipients are Mountain View Christian Center Food Pantry in Burley, Community Council of Idaho in Twin Falls, The Salvation Army in Twin Falls, Mustard Seed Ministries in Twin Falls and Hope for the Hungry Community Food Pantry in Shoshone.
“This is going to help us tremendously,” Tellez said. “Right now our pantry is looking kind of skimpy.”
Tellez said one week a month the council runs out of many items in the pantry but the people who come in will take whatever is available.
The council gives away about 150 food boxes a month that will feed a family of four.
“There is definitely a need out there. Some people who come in say they do not have anything at all to eat,” she said.
Each pantry was able to select $5,000 in food from the distribution center’s inventory.
“Charitable giving is a part of our company’s culture,” Chris Landrum, general manager of the Burley distribution center said.
Landrum said the company has held the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program in Burley three times but this one is his favorite configuration.
“Each year looked different,” Landrum said. “This year we got to pick the pantries in communities where our employees live.”
Anisha Cenarrusa with Mountain View Christian Center said the need in the community has remained constant.
The church opens a pantry from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Fridays where they give out items received from the USDA. Recipients must qualify according to income guidelines and the food is given out dependent on family size. The church also holds a mobile pantry once a month for anyone needing assistance. The box distribution begins at 10:45 a.m.
The church gives out between 100 and 300 boxes a month and the mobile pantry is the largest in the state, Cenarrusa said.
“I never knew people needed food like they do,” she said. “We have people coming in every day for help even though we are only open on Tuesday and Thursday.”
Landrum said the pantries got to select the items that best fit their needs.
Over and above the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program in 2018 the company’s Burley charitable committee will donate another $20,000 in the community, Landrum said.
The committee helped organize the program and delivered the food to the pantries last week.
“This is where we live and we are part of the community,” Landrum said. “We want to give back.”
Dot Foods will make similar donations in the communities of each of its 11 distribution centers and the company’s corporate sales office for a total contribution of more than a quarter of a million dollars.
The company carries 127,000 products from 930 food manufactures and distributes products in all 50 states and in more than 35 countries.