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Community Food Basket celebrates paying off warehouse with mortgage burning party


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IDAHO FALLS — Community Food Basket-Idaho Falls celebrated having its building paid off by holding a mortgage-burning party Thursday evening.

The non-profit invited community members to the emergency food warehouse at 1895 North Boulevard for the celebration and to thank donors who made it all possible.

Back in January, the Community Food Basket received a stunning surprise when Melaleuca stepped forward to pay the final $51,500 needed to end the capital campaign to purchase the 22,000-square-foot storage warehouse.

RELATED: ‘A stunning surprise.’ Nonprofit receives donation to pay off mortgage

“Tens of thousands of people, families (and) households have been impacted in very good ways in the last 40 years because of what’s happened right here (at the Community Food Basket),” said Melaleuca CEO Jerry Felton during the celebration. “On behalf of Melaleuca, thank you for letting us be a part of this great work. It’s noble and thanks to all the donors (and) Melaleuca’s team members for what you did as well.”

Ariel Jackson, executive director of Community Food Basket-Idaho Falls, invited her team up to a podium and gave them each a piece of paper from the mortgage to crumple up and throw into a large tin can. She then lit one of the pages on fire and dropped it in the can to burn the rest of the documents.

Inside the tin can where the mortgage burned. | Andrea Olson,

“Unfortunately, we are not ever going to be able to erase all struggling but we can get people to get through it,” Jackson said. “Now we will have a home forever to be able to do that in eastern Idaho and continue supporting the agencies that we help.”

Other major donors that helped pay off the mortgage include The Four Amigas (four anonymous women), the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, Albertsons Foundation, Idaho Community Foundation and the CHC Foundation.

Melaleuca’s donation represents the single largest corporate donation in the warehouse capital campaign. During the company’s holiday food drive, employees gave $34,228 in donations, which was matched by The Melaleuca Foundation, for a total of $68,456 to benefit the hungry.

The warehouse, which stores dry and refrigerated food items, helps 22 other nonprofits by serving as a central location for food storage in southeast Idaho.

The Community Food Basket-Idaho Falls works to meet the emergency food needs of families and individuals facing food insecurity in the greater Idaho Falls area. According to a news release, the organization feeds up to 2,000 local families per month.

Crowd of people at mortgage burning party. | Andrea Olson,