Chistmas Week 2014

It’s been another busy few weeks as we prepare for Christmas at Heartland Hunger & Resource Center this week.  Thanksgiving is already a month ago  and we served  Thanksgiving baskets to well over  125 families for that holiday.  Despite my best intentions, I’ve not been posting all the wonderful activities since then.  We’re very grateful to everyone who has held food drives and   organized events to support HH&RC.  Among those are Foresters’ who held a silent auction and Tamarack Ski Resort’s food drive last Friday. Thank you so much to all who helped, including our volunteers!

Something  very  special to my heart is involving children to help at the food pantry, especially during holidays.  At Halloween, the Silver Sage Girl Scouts did a huge food  for HH&RC.  More  recently, Barbara Morgan’s Second Graders  walked from school – with teachers and parents- and brought us what they had collected in their classrooms.  They helped put   their food donations  away and fill the shelves. In the process they learned about  helping  others and the needs of hungry families.P1010947


Also,   Miss Jennie’s Kindergarten Class from Mountain Life School came to wrap potatoes for the Christmas baskets. This is the fourth year her class has been  our “potato helpers”. She says the children love to come and older ones tell her present class what fun it is! They also bring books for clients’ kids to take home during the year.




Speaking of books, Melody Dodge, McCall’s Children Librarian comes on Wednesdays to read to kids AND  she often does crafts with the little ones while the parents are being served in the pantry. Last week they made red and green paper chains for the trees. It is such fun to watch her with the children who are totally enthralled and attentive.  Thank you, Melody and McCall Library for your kindness.


Today we’re preparing for tomorrow’s  Christmas distribution. We’ll be open Tuesday from 4-6, and closed on Wednesday as it is Christmas Eve. Those who signed up for Christmas baskets can pick them up during hours. If there is anyone who didn’t sign up, we always have extra. We want everyone to enjoy a nice holiday meal.

Gifts for families at the food bank will be distributed at HH&RC not at the fire station as in past years since we  now have the space. The elves are busy setting up tables and sorting the gifts. As in past years, the churches have provided pajamas, socks and a book for children.  Elk Creek gathered board games  for families – and there are always surprises and more surprises. If there’s a family needing a gift for their kids,  it’s not too late to come by and make a request. The Christmas loaves and fishes don’t seem to run out.

All of us at Heartland Hunger wish our friends and donors a joyful, blessed Christmas. We love you and appreciate your support . We pray for you to receive as generously as you have given to others. Merry Christmas!

Holiday Meals

It doesn’t seem possible but the holidays are rapidly approaching. Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas follows a brief four weeks later. We’ve been busy preparing for them. Each year we give out special Thanksgiving and Christmas “Baskets” to make each of those holidays special for our clients. Of course we use boxes instead of basket for the dinners, but perhaps next year we can find actual baskets to add to the festivities! Start collecting them now.

In addition to a turkey or whole seasoned chicken (Thanksgiving) and ham (Christmas) , there are the traditional side dishes, including stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and butter. And of course a choice of holiday pies and whipped topping will complete the meals.

Thanksgiving Baskets will be distributed on Wednesday November 26 at our facility from 4:00 to 6:00. There have been sign ups for a few weeks, but it isn’t too late. As long as we have enough – and we’ve been more than blessed with food – no one will be turned away from receiving a Basket. Last year we served well over 120 families for each holiday.
There will not be any regular food distribution on that day. We’ll resume again in December.

Sign ups for Christmas Baskets and for the children’s gifts are currently being taken. Again this year, the gifts for the kids will receive pajamas, socks and a book. In addition, Elk Creek Church is gathering up board games for the families to enjoy. Donations are welcome.
Christmas Distribution will be TUESDAY December 23, from 4:00 – 6:00. The children’s gifts can also be picked up at that time on site. The food bank will be closed on Christmas Eve so both volunteers and clients can be with their families.

Our member churches usually provide some of the items for the meals, but there have also been many donations from the community to supplement the baskets. Thank you very much for making it possible for HH&RC to help others during the holidays. Your generosity and kindness means a lot to the board and to all the volunteers, and especially tells our clients, “We care about you and your families!”

Grand Opening Celebration

Heartland Hunger & Resource Center officially opened! Although we’ve been operating out of the new building for several weeks, this was  the Grand Opening   for everyone  to celebrate with us and to see our permanent home in McCall. It was also our way of giving thanks to  the community  which  supported the project.


Board of Heartland Hunger & members of McCall Chamber of Commerce with ribbon and scissors..

The McCall Chamber of Commerce reinstituted the ribbon cutting ceremony for the occasion, which added an endorsement  of public support.  After  welcomes  by  McCall Mayor Jackie Aymon and board member Lewis McLin,    Marc and I each held the ceremonial “golden scissors” to cut the ribbon, (in reality we pulled the Velcro apart!) Heartland Hunger was  opened to McCall.

As I looked out over the people during the ribbon cutting , many faces were very  familiar and  very dear to me : faces of pastors, mentors, friends, volunteers, donors, co-workers.  I’ve gotten to know their hearts dduring the last 14 years. Hopefully, they’ve seen ours also. We want to especially thank Valley County Commissioners and McCall City representatives for taking the time to come, as well as the business leaders. I noted several clients of the food bank in the crowd and am happy they felt welcome. After all, this  building’s sole purpose  is for us   serve  hungry families with  respect and help them with resources.

I thought back to a year or so ago to when the ground for the building was broken. I had spray painted a garden shovel with gold paint for that occasion, dreaming ahead to when a building would actually stand on the ground. Now that dream was a reality, thanks to those in front of me and those who could not be there – the suppliers, builders, contractors and laborers who work invisibly among us.  We went from “golden shovel to golden scissors”  in a year’s time! I can’t say thank you enough and am overjoyed  that the vision we’ve held for years is now here for everyone.

Wednesday was also the day for the food bank to be open  and for the Idaho Food Bank to deliver food so there was lots of activity later. Additionally, Silver Sage Girl Scouts dressed in costumes brought their Trick or Treat donations.  And… we received 200 pounds of  fresh apples … and…. another donor brought half a truck load of pumpkins.  What a day of celebration –  a home at last, God’s abundance and the kindness of others perfectly aligned.  It doesn’t get much better than this.



We also like to eat! Betty Buehl’s cookies on our table of plenty.


Girl Scout leader Katie bringing in the wagons filled with goodies.


Girl Scouts sorting some of the food.


Trick Or Treat for Hunger

Please help the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage Council collect canned food for Heartland Hunger. Girl Scouts from area troops will “Trick or Treat” local businesses on October 29th from 3:30 – 5:30 pm to collect non-perishable food items. Donation boxes will be set up in various downtown McCall locations starting the week of October 20st. Donations can also be dropped off at the McCall Public Library, now until the end of October.

 Participating Locations:



Idaho First Bank

Country Treasures

Hotel McCall

McCall Drug

Manchester Ice Centre

Huckleberry Garden

Century 21

McCall Public Library

City of McCall

 Remember the food bank needs our support 365 days a year not just around the holidays!

Grand Opening & News

opening invitation

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in our new facility for a month already! People are still very excited and enthusiastic, especially the clients as they come through the choice pantry because it is welcoming, spacious and open. We’re happy to announce Our Grand Opening  on October 29thfrom  11:00 am to 1:00. Please come so that we can express our thanks to all who contributed to  making a dream a reality.

Volunteers now have more room to be with families and we can offer more variety with fresh foods, etc. Outside, there’s an overhang from the roof so that people are a little more protected from the weather, especially as it gets colder. One of the best things about our home now is the children’s area inside. Little ones can sit at a small table, choose books or color while their parents shop for their food. We’re envisioning a lot more for our Heartland Kids.


Recently the second grade at Barbara Morgan participated in a Peanut Butter, Jelly and cracker drive for the food bank. The school’s second graders have done a drive  for several years, but this year teacher Maggie Crawford walked to the food bank with the children – and moms- all pulling carts loaded with donations. Maggie said her goal is to provide a first hand experience for the children about hunger and local needs.


It’s not to soon to think about the holidays. Sign Ups for Thanksgiving baskets will begin in November 5 at HH&RC. Christmas Sign Ups are yet to be decided. This is the tenth  year that HH&RC provides food for traditional dinners for both holidays for families at the food bank and works with McCall fire & EMS for seniors. HH&RC is participating with  Les Schwab  through Idaho Food Bank for donations of turkeys from the community.

We’ve moved!


Heartand Hunger & Resource Center has moved to our beautiful new building. We are overjoyed and most   thankful to everyone who helped with the building, especially  our builder Marc, the businesses, contractors and workers who donated materials and gave of their time. It has been a year of community generosity for which there aren’t enough ways to say thank you.

The holiday season is going to be here all too soon, and we’re very excited to have more room to serve hungry families, especially the children.

HH&RC is   located at 556 Deinhard in McCall. To get there, go east on Deinhard past Les Schwab. At the County Courthouse Annex, turn right.  HH&RC is directly across from the McCall recycling center.

Hours for the food bank are Wednesday 4:00 to 6:00. Donations can be dropped off at the center in the donation box on the side. For  help or further information,  call 634-3037.

Thank You For Giving!

Thanks to everyone who participated in Idaho Gives yesterday and who gave to us.  We are always grateful for your supporting Heartland Hunger & Resource Center and for your continued faith in us.

It’s great to see the response. The Manchester Ice Rink  was a pretty busy place as people came in and out to see what was going on, to visit the various tables set up and to chat with one another. The highlight was the Human Slingshot /bowling event on the ice. We didn’t win any prize money but our Laura definitely went the farthest – right into the back wall! She’s already excited for next year and figuring out the best tactics for winning.

It is very encouraging to see how the local non profits have come together in the last two years. We all have different interests and ideas, but the spirit of cooperation, fellowship  and community well being is growing and strong. Well done AVIC! It’s been  fun .

Friede Gabbert




Idaho Gives on May 1. Will You?

Idaho Gives logoHave you seen the signs around town saying  “Idaho Gives,  Will You? Are you  wondering what they mean?  Tomorrow, May 1 is the second year of HH&RC participating in Idaho Gives. This is a statewide, on-line giving event to non profits. There will be a lot of activities going on in McCall at the Manchester Ice Center, beginning at 2:00: tables, information, banners, and demonstrations about  the  different outreaches in Valley and Adams Counties. A special menu is available at the restaurant.  Computer stations and technologically savvy people will be available to help those  who want to donate.

At 5:00 there will be a Human Slingshot competition for first second and third prizes. Thank you to the businesses which are donating $50o,  $250 and $100 for the event. Twelve brave people  from twelve organizations have volunteered to see who can knock down the most pins on the ice and go the farthest.  Come join us and encourage your friends to participate. It’s all for good causes.

Click here for Idaho Gives promo

In other news,  the building on Deinhard  is taking shape very quickly. The weather is conducive at last and today,  I visited with Marc and the the framers who are  busy raising the  sides.   I don’t know who is more thrilled, Marc or me? Finally, our dream is being realized.

We’re asking people to consider donating tomorrow to  help toward the building project or for Heartland Kids or Woodstock. On- line donations can also be matched and win additional prizes through the Idaho Non Profit Center .

Building in Progress




February: It’s Winter Again

It was really cold last night, below zero when the sun went down. I am glad we had the propane heater set up outside while families were waiting to come in.

In the new building, there will be  a covered waiting area, as well as a room inside. One of my dreams is to have a video player set up  for those who are waiting with educational DVD’s, especially for the kids. There are many old Sesame Street segments about eating healthy food, exercise,  counting rhymes. Like  Lady Bug’s Picnic. Anyone remember that?   It doesn’t get any better than that!

As winter rolls in again and  32 states are struggling with  ice and snow, we’re fortunate to have snow. Winter Carnival drew record crowds, the ski area’s busy and hotels are filled.  The storms that hamper much of the rest of the country are God sends for mountain resorts like McCall. It  means more people are working and although much of the work is seasonal and part time, that is a good thing.

Still, the food pantry has been very busy with high numbers of new clients signed up in January. We’re often the safety net for families, especially during the long McCall winters .



Delivered: 18 boxes of diapers – in large cardboard containers ( Tom)
Delivered: Two large boxes of   bread. ( Karen)


Delivered produce in banana boxes (7 or 8?) from local grocery store (Verla)
Delivered 32  gallons of  milk (Seventh Day Adventist Church)
Delivered:  250 pounds of hamburger – in 5 cardboard boxes (Friede)
Delivered:  bags to Seniors  (Jerry)

Break down  cardboard. .

 3:00  Stock shelves

4:00  – 5:00
Youth Group  Volunteers arrive.
3 More Volunteers come to help.
2 More Volunteers. Thanks, but we’re o.k. Too crowded.
Open  up food bank for clients.
Break down diaper boxes and more cardboard. Fill up office floor space.
Serve majority  of Families.
Delivered:  box of books for children. (McCall Public Library)
Add emptied box to growing  stack of cardboard.
Abandon office. Cardboard wins.
Delivered: huge bags of pillows/sheets from local hotel. Throw them on top of cardboard mountain which collapses , spreading  like an oil slick in  front of   spare freezer in office.


Find relative safety at desk & chair .
Sign Up 4 new clients:  three pleasant, one  challenging..

5:15 – 6:00
Serve rest of  Families. Total for night over  50.
Give a hug or two. Speak Spanish.  Attempt  conversations with texting generation. Try to put names with faces.
Hold 5 day old baby!
Release tired Volunteers.
Load up 1/2 of recycling.


Close Up Food Bank.
Leave instructions for Youth Group.
Please  recycle!
Remote start my car.


Tip toe very gingerly over   rutted ice field to car.
Pray. Thank  God no one slipped  on the ice.
Instead of warm car, trunk’s popped open.  Wrong button. Again.
Grumble and mutter.
Drive home to  supportive  husband  and waiting dinner.


Write silly summary of today.
Thank God for  all the blessings.

Breaking down cardboard is an ongoing challenge.

Breaking down cardboard is an ongoing challenge.

Youth Volunteers At Work

Youth Volunteers At Work

Books Donated by McCall Library

Books Donated by McCall Library