In 2015, the Community Action Partnership food bank in Lewiston had 21,289 visits for its food box program.
When you add this number to the total visits for the perishable food program, you get a number, about 70,000 — and the scope of food insecurity becomes as vast as the scenic-overlooks atop U.S Highway 95.
“Poverty is not going away,” said Connie Granbois, Community Action Partnership Food Bank manager.
The food bank serves five counties, Granbois said, though the majority of help goes to residents of Nez Perce County. The four others include Clearwater, Latah, Lewis, and Idaho counties, she said.
The Food Bank Country Music Show, in its eighth installment Friday, is doing its best to help the food bank keep up.
The show is the brainchild of local resident and musician Monte Garrison. His encounter with a homeless man launched a personal investment with fighting hunger. He wrote the song “I’ll be okay” after this encounter, and this song has opened every Food Bank Country Music Show since Garrison said.
He called on Clarkston resident and musician Bodie Dominguez to guide him through the process of putting on the first show back in 2009.
Dominguez has personally faced the fragility of consistently putting food on the table.
Retired now, Dominguez was once a union rep at his job in Potlatch. When collective bargaining time came, the company would lay people off for extended periods — in these times he depended on the food bank.
“I had eight kids at home, and I had to feed them,” Dominguez said.
Alongside poverty and homelessness, getting injured at work or being laid-off commonly cause people to look towards the food bank’s services, Granbois said.
This annual fundraiser — tickets are $10 — has raised about $3,000 during each show that goes directly towards purchasing pallets of food, Granbois said.
A pallet of non-perishable food costs around $1,500 Granbois said. These pallets usually hold 100 cases with 24 units in a case.
In 2015, the food bank provided 5,835 boxes of non-perishable food, Granbois said. The need continues to grow, there were exactly 10,000 more visits for the food box program in 2015 than in 2007.
Like the social issues this concert champions, the bill and pertinent musician engagement has also grown. Dominguez, Hal Olson and Shiloh Sharrard will perform, acts who have been with this show since the beginning Garrison said.
The alternative country group 7 Devils, fronted by Nathan Alford, editor and publisher of The Lewiston Tribune and Daily News, will also perform. Chad Bramlet — Lewiston native who auditioned for NBC’s “The Voice” — will lend his talents for the third year.
Dominguez expressed gratitude to the food bank.
“It’s pay back time,” Dominguez said.
The food bank is always looking for cash, food and non-food item donations.
If You Go:
What: Eighth Annual Food Bank Country Show
Where: New Bridges Community Church Hall, 2102 Eighth St., Lewiston. (Additional parking for the night will be available at the Veterans Home and a shuttle bus will be provided. )
When: 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19