Free baked potatoes, coffee, and other food were being handed out to visitors and regulars at the Idaho State Capitol Monday as part of a Hunger Awareness Day by some advocacy groups.
The event was put together by the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force. “It’s a program of attraction,” said Kathy Gardner, the group’s director. “During the lunch hour is one of those times when we can attract lawmakers’ attention and bring up really important issues that are going to be before the Legislature this year.” The Hunger Relief Task Force was also handing out orange ribbons, which signify hunger awareness.
Gardner said the groups meeting on the fourth floor of the Capitol are calling for an extension of the grocery tax credit, which Gov. Butch Otter supports, as well as removing the asset test required for food stamp applications. The Hunger Relief Task Force is also urging lawmakers to have Idaho join the USDA’s Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which gives federal grants to help low-income seniors buy food from local farmers’ markets.
The Freedom Resource Center, which runs a food bank in Boise, handed out the baked potatoes. “We heard that legislators like food and if we serve them food they’d be more apt to come up,” said Tabby Jolley, the group’s treasurer. “Potatoes just seemed like a logical thing to do… We’re just thanking them for stopping by by feeding them.”
Jolly and Gardner said no state funds paid for the food handed out Monday, though the Freedom Resource Center receives funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for other programs.
Orange ribbons and candy handed out by the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force
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