IDAHO FALLS — With less than 12 hours notice, people and businesses in east Idaho collected 33,000 pounds of food Thursday that is on its way to emergency shelters in Texas.
Melaleuca announced the food drive late Wednesday night and donations started to pour in at the company’s Distribution Center beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday. The goal was to fill a 53-foot long semi-truck trailer by 6 p.m. and have two Melaleuca employees immediately drive 1,500 miles to drop the products off in the Houston area.
By 5 p.m., the trailer was full and donations were still being dropped off so Melaleuca decided to load another truck that will depart for Texas Friday morning.
Thousands of people donated non-perishable food items, such as crackers, granola bars, chips, juice and canned fruit, that are needed in shelters immediately. It’s estimated that over 30,000 Texans have been forced from their homes and multiple shelters are open to care for those in need.
The American Red Cross had already requested a large amount of snack bars and sunscreen from Melaleuca that was delivered to 9,000 people waiting in the Houston Convention Center Thursday. Melaleuca donated more products that are included on the semi-trucks headed to Texas.
Businesses such as Sam’s Club, Broulim’s, Albertsons, Wackerli Auto and others made donations while several medical and dental practices collected items. Golden Valley Natural Meat Snacks contributed 17 pallets containing tens of thousands of beef and buffalo jerky packages.
Melaleuca Call Center employees cashed out their “bonus points” in exchange for $5,000 of food that was purchased and then loaded onto the truck.
Organizers of the food drive thank everyone who donated and say the effort truly demonstrates the kindness of east Idahoans.