Those struggling in the UpRiver area can count on the UpRiver Community United to help during tough times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The local organization runs the UpRiver food bank and for the last few months has been offering food distribution twice a month to community members in need. The UpRiver food banks services a wide area covering the Fernwood, Clarkia, Santa and Emida communities.

UCU Coordinator, Debby Powell, said that the service has been even more essential ever since the COVID-19 pandemic has affect the area.

She said that the group has seen a lot of regulars but in the last few months a few new faces have started coming to the distributions.

“We do have some poverty in the area – there are a lot of seniors who don’t get a lot of money each week or can’t get a job,” Ms. Powell said. “The pandemic has been affecting the young people too and we have started to see a lot more of them coming to the distributions for help.”

Ms. Powell said that the food bank has served a constant 90 households or about 130 to 160 individuals. She said that is a large growth over what the organization has done compared to years past.

“This is probably the most people we’ve ever served,” Ms. Powell said. “It used to be 40 to 60 households.”

Though the UpRiver food bank has seen an increase in the number of community members it serves, it is not short on donations from local organizations and businesses.

“A lot of local people will also just send money,” Ms. Powell said. “We get big donations from the Fernwood Merc and the Tri-Community Library and UpRiver Church supports us each year.”

Ms. Powell said that the UCU’s next focus is to apply for grant funding through the state of Idaho to get funds to increase their storage space. She said that the building they use, the CAF building in Fernwood, needs the updates as they continue to grow and gain more donations.

She said that above all else the UCU appreciates the community for lending hand to help their fellow community members.

“We really appreciate all of our local donations,” Ms. Powell said. “We’ve started to get more donations as more people start to hear about us.”

The next food distribution will be Friday, February 12, at 8:15 a.m. For more information or to donate contact Ms. Powell at 208-245-3097.

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