Community Pantry available to those in need

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Nampa/Northern Sunrise County Family and Community Support Services wants to remind community members who are struggling about a food collection program available for their use.

The County’s Community Pantry program is similar to other community’s food bank services, but the three local FCSS offices provide bins and shelves to assist with collecting and dispersing non-perishable good and garden vegetables to those who are in need.

“Unlike the food bank, the Community Pantry program does not require proof of income for a person to access this service,” says director of Community Services Amber Houle.

“We acknowledge that sometimes people struggle with meeting ends, despite having a job, (or they) may have recently lost their job, navigating divorce, single parents, dealing with a recent injury or disability. The program is from community for community, and we rely on donations from community members to keep the shelves stocked.”

The Community Pantry is available to all Northern Sunrise County and Village of Nampa residents who require assistance. Houle says there is no referral or application process, and people can access the goods without judgement.

Houle says they always accept donations, and the community has been great at ensuring food is continually going through the FCSS doors. The three FCSS locations are in Cadotte Lake, Nampa and St. Isidore.

FCSS tries to ensure the shelves are always stocked with both non-perishable items and hygiene products.

“We are always looking for non-perishables for our program,” says Houle. “We typically run short on hygiene products, diapers, formula, and canned proteins. The Community Pantry program ensures that our residents have access to food. No one should have to choose between heating their home or putting a meal on their table.”

The program was implemented in 2019, and with rising costs it is expected to continue to be used by community members who are struggling to make ends meet.

She says since the beginning of the pandemic, the offices have seen an influx of people needing to access the Community Pantry program and seeking assistance accessing other programs and services to help meet their basic needs.

“Recognizing that we all go through struggles in life, donations to our program help families move forward and get their feet back under them,” says Houle.

If you would like to donate non-perishable items to the program, please phone the FCSS General Inquiries line at (780) 625-3287. The program accepts financial donations and gift cards to local grocery stores, as well as food donations

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