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Annual food drive fundraiser held here

posted Apr 10, 2011, 7:24 AM by Karla Marie   [ updated Apr 10, 2011, 7:39 AM ]
BY MICHAEL FARNWORTH    For the Journal April 10, 20111

POCATELLO— The Feeding the 5,000 Families Food Drive’s 14th annual progressive dinner took place Saturday evening in Pocatello.    Jolene Barnett-Stephens has helped with the drive for several years. 

“(Rep.) Roy Lacey told me a couple of years ago, that our interfaith food drive is the longest running, in the entire country,” Barnett-Stephens said.    She added that Lacey had told her that most interfaith food drives only last a couple of years before they end.

“It is definitely the community of Southeast Idaho,” Karla Reynolds said. Reynolds has been co-chairwoman of the annual drive with Dawn McLaughlin for the past two years.  

 “We’ve had complete strangers walk up to us,” Mclaughlin said. “They tell us that they had gotten help from the food bank a few years before, and now they want to pay it back by helping out. Then they either donate food, or money, and some just donate their time, which is just as great.”  

 The annual “Feeding the 5,000 Families Food Drive” begins in January and runs through May, and includes different events throughout the four-month period.
  Many community churches get involved.  

 “This year I’ve dealt with 23 different churches that are helping out in some way,” Mclaughlin said. “Plus almost every church that we talk with has some kind of collection bin within their doors that collects food from their congregation and then brings the donations to the food bank.”  

 “For example,” Reynolds said, “The Central Christian Church has a shopping cart sitting next to the door that people place food into every week.”  

 The two women are involved with a committee that meets with the food bank on a weekly basis to discuss what the biggest need is. The committee, which is made up of men
  and women from several different churches, then take that information back to their churches, and on Sunday the church lets its congregation know which foods are most needed for the next week.  

 Saturday’s events kicked off at station 1 in the First Presbyterian Church at 202 S. Seventh Ave., where appetizers were served. Station 2 featured soup and salad at the Central Christian Church at 918 E. Center St.    At 6:30 p.m., patrons made their way to the LDS Caldwell Park Building at the corner of E. Lewis and Seventh Ave., where the main dish was served. To finish off the night, desert was served at the Holy Spirit Catholic Community’s St. Anthony Chapel at 504 N. Seventh Ave.

 More than 125 people showed up for the moving four-course menu that raised $15 per person and $25 per couple, with all proceeds going to the Idaho Foodbank.  

 “We strive every year to improve,” Reynolds said. “Last year we were able to raise over $13,000 and 23,000 pounds of food when all was said and done. We were a little afraid this year with everything else that has been going on in Pocatello lately, but the community has proven themselves just as they always do, and by looking at ticket sales at the door, we are going to be able to do as much, if not more, than last year.”  

 To begin this year’s drive, the opening concert had
  results comparable to 2010 by raising $600, and 320 pounds of food.


Participants in the “Feeding the 5,000 Families” progressive dinner enter Station 3 for the main dish on Saturday in Pocatello.