Healthy Donations Campaign Supports Basin Food Pantry
Food pantries come in all shapes and sizes, from entire buildings to rooms to closets, but all of them serve a vital role in our communities- providing food for people facing food insecurity. The Salvation Army Basin Unit Food Pantry, commonly called the Basin Food Pantry, tends to be on the smaller side of things, but with help from the Cent$ible Nutrition Program (CNP), is making big strides to increase the nutritional wellbeing of its clients.
“We are working on two projects to increase healthy foods at the pantry- increasing fresh produce options and a new healthy donations campaign,” CNP educator Kristy Michaels said.
In the summertime, Michaels and the Big Horn County Extension Office grow and donate fresh produce to the Basin Food Pantry as well as other organizations. Last summer, Michaels donated 475 pounds of garden produce to the food pantry.
“It was really easy to donate directly to the food pantry, and have them pick up the produce and distribute it,” Michaels said. “The feedback we got from those who received produce was very positive.”
The Basin Food Pantry serves many families and elderly clients throughout the year, providing 164 food bags and 74 Thanksgiving food baskets to clients in November. The fresh produce in the summer helps provide more food for pantry clients.
With the gardening season over however, Michaels, was interested in ways to work with the Basin Food Pantry to support clients during the winter months. The new healthy donations campaign came together after two volunteers from the Basin Food Pantry attended CNP classes and wanted to do more to help people in their community facing food insecurity.
“We’ve worked together for quite a while,” Michaels said about the partnership with the pantry. “But this is a new project for us.”
Michaels and the Basin Food Pantry approached the local grocery store, Wheelers Basin Market, about the project, and it was on board to help support it.
“I think it really is a kind of a win-win for both of us,” Michaels said about working with Wheelers Bain Market.
Michaels made signs, put together a donation box for the grocery store, and approached the local paper about the project to help promote it.
“We came up with the top ten needs for creating healthy meals to give to people,” Michaels said. “Then we made and put up tags for the top ten needs and tags for healthy choices on the shelves around the store.”
The project was well received in the Basin community, with donations coming in fast.
“The donation box filled up quickly the first couple of times I checked it,” Michaels said.
The plan is to see the project through the holiday season, then see where things go in the new year.
The volunteers at the food pantry here are amazing and so great to work with,” Michaels said. “I look forward to seeing how the healthy donations campaign goes and how we can continue to work together to provide healthier food options for those in our communities facing food insecurity.”