Local business donates 20,000 paper sacks to school district providing free meals
IDAHO FALLS — Providing a brown paper sack lunch for students is a common practice for most school districts under normal circumstances, but finding enough sacks to put meals in during the pandemic hasn’t been an easy task.
A local business just donated 20,000 paper sacks to Bonneville Joint School District 93 as they work to continue to provide free breakfast and lunches to students while the doors are shut. East Idaho Credit Union made the delivery Monday morning after going through multiple sources to find some, and the district couldn’t be happier.
“When we first heard, we just kind of went, ‘Do they know what they’re getting into?’ Because I know what it’s like trying to find bags at this point in time,” Procurement Specialist Shannon Fullmer tells EastIdahoNews.com. “But when Heather (the child nutrition supervisor) told me that they found them and they’ll be here Monday, I’m like, ‘You got to be kidding me.'”
The two organizations have been in partnership for nearly 40 years. At Christmas time, the credit union and the school district team up for “Coins for Christmas,” where they collect coins in the schools to buy shoes for kids in need. When the credit union found out the district was running low on lunch bags, they wanted to help.
“We’ve had a really good partnership with the district, and we reached out to them and said, ‘What do you guys need? In the change that we’re all facing, what can we do to help?'” East Idaho Credit Union Vice President of Marketing Toby Hayes says. “They said, ‘More than anything, we need lunch bags for kids.'”
Fullmer says they are going through bags quickly. In a little over three weeks since they started this service, they’ve distributed around 95,000 total meals and used roughly 47,000 bags. Breakfast and lunch are put in the same paper sack.
Along with the paper sacks, the credit union put together thank you gift bags for the workers with a Chick-fil-A gift card and swag from the credit union.
“We know that there’s a lot of hard-working people who are making those lunches and making everything work for kids every day,” Hayes says. “They have about 95 employees every day making lunches, distributing lunches and putting smiles on kids’ faces, and so we want to put a smile on their face.”
Fullmer is grateful for the donation because it means they can continue to help people during these uncertain times. She’ll never forget the first day the district started handing out meals during COVID-19 and the emotions that came with it.
“I had a dad pull up with two teenage boys in the backseat and you could just see the whole weight of the world on that dad,” she said. “I was trying to be upbeat and as cheery as possible and I handed him his two lunches. It was almost like you could see a little bit of the weight lift,” Fullmer says. “We’re being able to be that bright light for them.”
Hayes said East Idaho Credit Union was founded in Idaho Falls 85 years ago during the Great Depression. Even during challenging times, he said their goal is to help the community, something Fullmer feels a responsibility to do as well.
“This job is hard, and it’s stressful and a lot of tears have been shed good and bad for the whole thing,” Fullmer says. “But this (meal service) has been such a great thing for our community and for the kids.”