There’s a special set of shelves at the Community Action Partnership Food Bank in Lewiston reserved for the homeless.On them are canned foods, like Vienna sausage, with pop-top lids; cups of applesauce, with foil tops; juice boxes; and Ziploc bags, with sets of plastic silverware and napkins. No can openers or stoves are needed for these meals.
“It’s really hard to say how many homeless are in the area,” says food bank manager Connie Granbois.
“One is too many,” she adds.
Regional country western musicians will raise money for the food bank at a concert Friday in Lewiston. “I’ll Be Okay,” a song about being homeless, always opens the Food Bank Country Show now in its fifth year.
After writing the song, Lewiston musician Monte Garrison took a photo of a local homeless man named Billy Wilson for the album’s cover. Wilson is still out on the streets, says Garrison, who helped start the concert as a way to help.
“It’s a serious problem,” he says about homelessness and hunger.
Fundraisers like the concert help the food bank buy items it needs, like separate supplies for the homeless, Granbois says. They help fill in the gaps from funding cuts and donations.
“Overall donations are down and services are up,” she says.
In 2008, the year preceding the first Food Bank Country Show, the food bank served food boxes to 12,527 individuals. In 2012, it served 5,195 food boxes to 15,868 individuals. That number includes 2,543 children under age 18. A box of food is a week’s worth of food to make three meals a day.
Between 2011 and 2012 the number of food boxes served went up by 107, Granbois says. That might not seem like a big number, but when you take into account that each box contains about 55 pounds of food it means the food bank served 6,000 pounds more food, she explains. Granbois says the food bank truly appreciates fundraisers like the country show, an event that brings in $2,500 to $3,000 each year, according to Garrison.
The fifth annual Food Bank Country Show is 7 p.m. Friday at New Bridges Community Church. The show will feature country and western music by more than a dozen musicians and bands from around the region, including Garrison, Hal Olson, Bodie Dominguez, Shiloh Sharrard, Brad Bramlett, Derek and Jerry Katzenberger, Garry Shawver, David Tucker, Bob Bailey, Bill Campbell, and Spirit Highway with Marty Lukenbill, Mark Snodgrass, Dan Faller and Bruce Grimoldby.
What: Fifth annual Food Bank Country Show
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: New Bridges Community Church, 2102 Eighth St., Lewiston
Cost: $10 at the door
Of Note: All proceeds will go to the Community Action Food Bank.
Extra parking and a shuttle service are available at the Idaho State Veterans Home, across the street from the church.