2 local nonprofits receive major donation to help alleviate hunger

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IDAHO FALLS — When the Idaho Falls Interfaith Council heard two local nonprofits needed freezers, council members went to work.

The Salvation Army and Community Food Basket provide thousands of meals to eastern Idaho families, and new freezers allow both groups to keep food fresh longer.

“We would have to give the food out as fast as we could before it spoiled,” said Salvation Army Idaho Falls Major Gregory Moody.

Interfaith Council members contacted local businesses and individuals to ask for assistance in solving the problem.

During a presentation Friday morning, the Community Food Basket received five new industrial freezers, and the Salvation Army received two thanks to the Melaleuca Foundation, Medical Imaging Associates and a few anonymous donors. The total cost for the seven freezers $27,330.

The Salvation Army and Community Food Basket received seven donated freezers Friday from the Melaleuca Foundation, Medical Imaging Associates and other donors. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

“We knew that the limiting factor was money, so we donated as much as we could,” said Dr. Fritz Schmutz of Medical Imaging Associates.

The freezers were purchased from Rush’s Kitchen Supply at cost, and the company has offered to set them up at no charge.

“With this opportunity, people can come in when they need it — not when they have to,” said Moody. “It’s going to help us serve the community in a much more efficient way than we have been in the past.”

The Community Food Basket distributed nearly 1.5 million pounds of food last year and serves nearly 4,000 families each month. The freezers will go a long way in expanding its efforts.

The Salvation Army has struggled with insufficient freezer space for its meat donations, making do with just a few worn-out kitchen freezers. These new industrial freezers will allow it to accept more frozen food donations.

“Without community help, many families would go hungry,” Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said. “Local supermarkets, businesses and individuals are extremely generous in donating food. We made this contribution so these food pantries are no longer limited in how much frozen food they can accept. Now they’ll have the capacity to match the generosity of this community and feed more families.”

The nonprofits plan to use the freezers immediately, and donors say they’re glad to help.

“It’s fun to be a part of something much bigger than us in this community,” said Idaho Falls Interfaith Council spokesman Kevin Call. “East Idaho is a generous place, and it’s nice to be a part of an experience that makes a difference.”

Schmutz added, “We believe in the old saying of C.S. Lewis that we’re only the agents for God’s will and wishes and that everything we have actually belongs to him anyway. We just share his goodwill.”

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