Who's Been Nice ...

Bank pitches in to alleviate hunger in east Idaho

By Kim Noteboom
Post Register
Printed on Friday, December 7, 2007

The Bank of Commerce donated $10,000 to supply food to those in need.

Sheryl Bailey stood in the cold Thursday and watched volunteers stack boxes full of canned goods destined to feed the hungry in eastern Idaho.

The Bank of Commerce made Thursday's event possible by donating $10,000 to the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership so the organization could provide food to people in need.

"I about fell off my chair," Bailey said when she heard about the donation.

A regular donation to a food drive might be 10 to 20 cans of food, Bailey said. This gift was more like six truckloads of food.

"We felt this was the right place to put our resources this year," said Kim Smith, senior vice president and compliance officer at the Bank of Commerce.

For Smith, the cause was important because "those who benefit are in the community."

Smith said that although he had no idea how many people $10,000 could actually feed, seeing the amount of food purchased was exciting.

"This is absolutely wonderful," he said.

Bailey, who is EICAP's community services director, took the much-needed donation and went shopping at Savings Center in downtown Idaho Falls. She purchased canned fruit, soups, chili, SpaghettiOs and more.

Bailey joked that she purchased lots of "meals in a can," but said she was able to replenish the stock of some important foods, such as applesauce and peaches.

"The truth is that we see that there is a real need in the community," Bank of Commerce President Tom Romrell said. "We saw the need, which gave us the opportunity to contribute. It warms my heart to see people benefit from our giving."

Bailey said the food EICAP receives goes to established food banks. This donation will help the Idaho Falls Community Food Bank, The Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, the Soup Kitchen, Haven Shelter and others. The food also will go to food banks in the surrounding area.

"Based on the orders they give us, we distribute weekly or monthly," Bailey said.

The food banks serve people at 133 percent or less of the federal poverty level. For example, a family of four that brings in $2,289 a month or less is eligible to receive food. A complete list of poverty level guidelines is available online at www .cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidEligibility/downloads/POV07ALL.pdf.

"We help about 3,000 area individual households a month," Bailey said.

She added that with the help of the Bank of Commerce, EICAP hopefully will have enough food to feed needy families through February.

Bailey, who has worked at EICAP for 11 years, said she knows this food will be appreciated by those who receive it.

"The people who are in these situations aren't there because they want to be," she said. With all their other bills, "groceries are usually the last thing on their minds."

Did you know?

The Hunger in Idaho 2006 study, the largest study ever done in the state, found that 15,100 people needed emergency food assistance in any given week and 81,400 people per year needed assistance.

Source: Idaho Food Bank, www.idahofood bank.org