Client Choice conquers hunger in Boise

Salvation Army gives clients a choice in Boise, Idaho.

by Shandra Naegle –

Volunteers from the Jr. Service Club work at the Client Choice food bank. [Photo by Neva Geisler]

At the Client Choice Food Bank in Boise, Idaho, people feel comfortable coming for help. There they find employees and volunteers dedicated to serving the Boise community and fulfilling The Salvation Army’s mission of, “meeting human needs without discrimination.” Last year alone they provided 5,134 boxes of food, which helped 4,894 families in need.

One of the best qualities of Client Choice is the reassuring atmosphere. The food bank doesn’t give out pre-packed food boxes. The clients choose their food “supermarket” style, taking what they and their families will eat. This makes them happier and preserves their dignity.

When asked about her experience with Client Choice, recipient Beverly Smith, who has come for help four or five times in the last year, said, “They are amazing because they have so much and are so willing to give. Everything is very organized, especially in the way that the food boxes are run. I don’t know what I would do during bad months—I am so thankful for anything that they have to give.”

To receive food from Client Choice, a resident of Ada County simply completes an application. The amount a client can receive depends on family size and what is currently available through donations. Common items include bread, pastries, meat, fresh vegetables, and canned food. Wal-mart, Winco, and Costco donate a majority of the food, with the remainder coming from donations from the public.

Services Director Amber Young states, “The Client Choice Food Bank has proven very successful. We have increased the number of people we are able to serve and the amount of food given to each family. We have minimized waste and become more environmentally friendly.”

Residents may come to Client Choice to fill up their bags once every 60 days, but bread may be taken daily. However, if the steady flow of donations continues, the time period may be reduced to every 30 days. With continued community support, Client Choice can maintain a high level of commitment and devotion to those in need and insure that no one goes hungry during those “bad months.”

Captains John and Candy Stennett are the corps officers in Boise; he is also the Treasure Valley Coordinator.

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