The Idaho Falls Rotary Club hopes to collaborate with the United Way's mission is to improve people's lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County (UWIFBC) fights for the education, health and financial stability of every person in our community. With more than 80 years of experience, the UWIFBC is a strategic community leader, convener and advocate with in-depth knowledge of the communities we serve, the challenges that affect them and the organizations having the most impact. Serving Bonneville, Clark, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton counties in eastern Idaho.
This project would impact program funding towards ALICE families. ALICE is Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed; essentially Idaho's working poor. Over 40% of families within the counties served, were identified as ALICE families, throughout the recovery of the pandemic.
ALICE is a hardworking member of our community. ALICE is employed, but doesn't make enough to cover basic necessities. ALICE cannot always pay their bills, has little or nothing in savings, and is forced to make tough choices, such as paying childcare or paying rent. ALICE families cannot afford camps, tutoring, sports, or other activities for children. Based on the most recent information from United for Alice report on children, 1 in 3 kids between the ages of 5 and 17 in Idaho go to bed hungry.
Ready. Set. GO! Is our basic needs program that was created 4 years ago based on a pilot program held at Hawthorne Elementary in District 91. The purpose of the Ready, Set, Go! program is to ensure that students have access to food, clothing, and hygiene items throughout the school year. This program helps to create equity in the classroom for the students and the confidence to be ready to learn! One component of this program is the Weekend Food Backpacks that are distributed at school sites with items that children are able to eat or prepare without adult supervision. This program provides healthy foods such as dairy, fruits, and vegetables as a part of their meals. Over the longer school breaks we provide supplemental food for families to ensure students have access to nutritious foods when they are not in school. Funding previous was received grant funding to support distribution for 100 backpacks a week, sadly the need has grown throughout the year and we are now packing 400 bags a week for 14 schools in our area. Following Feeding America's guidelines, UWIFBC purchase the food for the program, to ensure the proper care and handling of the food items. Each bag cost's just over $6.50 for two and half days of food for the students. Each week UWIFBC is spending over $2,600 for food, we have 100 backpacks covered by a grant, the difference is $1950/week. This funding would fill that gap and funding the program for more backpacks and supplies to be provided. The Idaho Falls Rotarians will also engage with the project by packing the bags and being "People of Action".