As Lory Rainey reflected on her upcoming 60th birthday and all of the people who contributed to make those years memorable, she decided to use those blessings to give back to the community that has sustained her for the last 40 years.
The public is invited to a dance party with music provided by DJ Spicetrain from 7-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at Velocio cafe in Ketchum, where the only gifts Rainey will accept are those directed to nonprofit The Hunger Coalition.
“There will be a donation box for friends and families who would care to donate,” Rainey said. “I believe that this is the time for me, personally, to ‘Pay it Forward.’”
The timing is excellent, according to Jeanne Liston, The Hunger Coalition’s executive director, who says the number of people needing their services skyrocketed recently.
“We’ve had 40 new families walk through our doors since the beginning of November alone,” Liston said. “Many of these are due to the cuts in the Food Stamp program that took place this month. Others are from the delayed effects of the Beaver Creek Fire.”
So far in 2013, The Hunger Coalition has served 456 families, Liston said. Of those, 201 were new families that have never sought the organization’s assistance before.
“That number is increasing weekly,” Liston said.
On Monday, the organization handed out the largest number of Thanksgiving baskets in the organization’s history, approximately 400, which is 50 more than last year.
The Hunger Coalition has compiled these statistics:
l Approximately 15 percent (3,040) of this county’s entire population is considered food insecure, meaning they don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.
l Last year, The Hunger Coalition served approximately 50 percent of the food-insecure population. This year, it is on track to serve more than 55 percent, with a goal to reach 70 percent by 2016.
l About 45 percent of students in the Blaine County School District qualify for the free and reduced-cost meal program.
“It will be a great event for the Thanksgiving holidays and I am hoping, after 40 years in this community, that my friends and soul-sisters will show up and it will make a difference with the families in our village who need food on their tables for the Christmas season and all season long,” Rainey said.