November 9, 2005 in Idaho

Hayden food bank closes its cupboards

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Filing cabinets have been moved into the Hayden City Hall storage room that used to contain basic food supplies for needy families.

And the two women who for nearly three decades filled those food boxes have retired from running the all-volunteer Hayden food bank.

The food bank ceased operations Oct. 1 after Pam Fink and Carol Croffoot gave up on finding successors and reclaiming some space in City Hall for their operations.

While closing the small food bank has been emotional for the dedicated volunteers, Croffoot said it has personal benefits.

“Sometimes I think, gee whiz, maybe this year I’ll get to shop before Christmas Eve and make cookies, things like that,” she said.

The Hayden Food Bank started when the local Chamber of Commerce decided to help four families with Christmas dinner nearly three decades ago.

“From there it grew,” Croffoot said. “We worked out of the basement for four or five years, until it got to be so many people.”

So the food bank moved to City Hall, where it had a storage room for food and preparing food boxes, and eventually was serving about 450 families each year. But last spring, the space crunch at City Hall forced the storage of food into the city’s maintenance building.

The distance across a ballfield from City Hall was a hardship for Croffoot and Fink, Croffoot said. “It wasn’t the best place to work out of, especially in the wintertime, getting boxes to City Hall,” she said.

They talked to City Administrator Jay Townsend in the summer, but the matter wasn’t entirely settled, and each thought the other would follow up on the conversation. Townsend had offered a small space for assembling boxes in the file room and help from city staff moving food back and forth, he said.

“They liked the idea, but somewhere communication broke down,” he said.

When he didn’t follow up with Croffoot and Fink, and when their advertisements soliciting more volunteers generated no response, they decided to close up shop.

“We were getting a little tired … and we’re just dwindling down,” Croffoot said.

The folks who used to call Croffoot and Fink for help are being referred to the food bank at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls.

Needy families also can contact Community Action Partnership Food Bank in Coeur d’Alene.


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