Food pantry benefits from Back to School Party

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Nori Evans, 2, whizzes down a slide as big brother Boston, 5, makes his way to the top. The siblings attended the inaugural St. Ignatius Back to School Block Party at Old Timers Park Saturday, Sept. 8 with parents Taylor and Justin Evans. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

Louise Mitchell is challenging the communities of Lake County.

Next year, she would like to see donation drives benefitting local food pantries.

“My dream is, every town gets involved and does a community drive for their local pantry,” she said Saturday, Sept. 8, during the St. Ignatius Back to School Block Party.

The Tribal Health WIC department employee organized the free and open event, which benefitted the Mission Valley Food Pantry.

She explained she was nominated to run an event for “No Kid Left Hungry.”

Through networking with various organizations, Mitchell linked up with the pantry and found out it is in need of volunteers and foods.

Partnering with DHRD, Project Launch, the pantry and Tribal Health, the party, held at Good Ol’ Days Park, not only acted as a food drive, but also as a place for children to play and parents to get access to various resources.

MITCHELL SAID the event wasn’t just for those enrolled in the WIC program or for tribal members, but rather for everyone.

“It has turned out to be a very good day,” she said. “I’m seeing people from all parts of the community. That was the thing: the community. I wanted it to be the community.”

At least 56 families registered, bringing a canned good or helping the pantry in some way.

Accepting donations for the food pantry was Heidi Riddle. She said that the pantry is in need of volunteers and foods to help serve local families.

GOING FORWARD, Mitchell hopes that county residents become familiar with their food pantries.

“I encourage everyone to walk into their local pantry, to get to know it,” she said.

In addition to learning how the food pantry system works, Mitchell also hopes to see more volunteers, even if it means doing a small task.

“Volunteering is a commitment, but I think if everyone did a little, a lot more would get done,” she said.

For volunteer opportunities at the Mission Food Pantry, contact Riddle at the Mission Valley Food Pantry at 406-745-5484.

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