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‘There’s absolutely no judgment.’ Local store providing free items to those in need

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IDAHO FALLS — Workers at a local convenience store have dedicated a section of their store to help those in need.

Casey Davenport and Martha Maldonado are the owners of Shortstop Market located at 525 W. Elva Street in Idaho Falls, across the street from Melaleuca Field. When the two of them took over as owners about a year ago, Davenport knew she wanted to do more than run a business.

“I’ve always seen stuff on Facebook where some people will have fridges outside for the homeless to grab food,” Davenport told EastIdahoNews.com. “I’ve always been inspired by everyone else, and I wanted to start something here.”

Employees collected non-perishable food items and placed them on a shelf in the store so those who needed the items could take them for free, no questions asked.

Over the past few months — and in an effort to help more people — the store has since added a few more shelves, a fridge and freezer. There are a wide variety of goods from formula, diapers and personal hygiene products to canned goods, freezer foods, dairy products and lunch meat.

“It’s not as big as I’d like,” Davenport pointed out.

But the available items are making a difference in the lives of community members. Davenport — who’s worked at the store for about 10 years — explained that before the store started collecting donations, she saw a need in the area to help. She said “quite a few” homeless people come to the store, and oftentimes, employees would end up buying food for them.

Davenport said now, not only the homeless but also families quietly “come in, grab (donated items) and go.”

“I love it. It’s been amazing,” she said. “I’m glad people are using it and there have been so many people who donate, and a lot of people come to buy stuff from the store to put on the shelf. It’s been awesome.”

Shortstop market donation sign
The sign that hangs up at the Shortstop Market telling community members in need they can take what they can use from the donation area. | Courtesy Shortstop Market Facebook

Davenport wants people in need to not feel ashamed if they take any items from the donation area.

“We’re all in need. Especially in these times right now,” Davenport said. “There’s no shame at all in any of this. We’re here to help you. There’s absolutely no judgment.”

If you’d like to donate, Davenport is focusing right now on stocking the fridge and freezer with foods such as dairy products and lunch items, but she said any donations are welcome.

Donations can be dropped off with an employee at the store or community members can place items in the donation area themselves.

Davenport said the Shortstop Market plans to continue offering the items to the public for as long as possible, and she hopes other businesses will join in.

“I would love to see more of the communities around here starting something like that because there are a lot of people in need,” Davenport added. “A lot of people don’t know about our little store so it would be nice to see other places start stuff.”

Shortstop market items that were donated
Some of the donated items available to community members in need. | Courtesy Shortstop Market Facebook
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