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Day of service at the North-Central branch of the Idaho Food Bank

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After a trip around the room, volunteers filled their bags with food.

The bags then made their way into boxes.

After the boxes are sealed, the food will go home with a local student in need.

This is the Idaho food bank's backpack program, one of its flagship initiatives.

Its goal is to provide meals for a student to take home on a Friday who might otherwise not have had food to eat over the weekends.

"We are so busy with the backpacks 'cause we have to build 9,700 of them for the north-central region," Development Coordinator for the north-central branch of the Idaho Food Bank, Hy'd Andrews, said.

One day is not enough to provide extra meals for so many students.

"We do two days, both in the fall and in January, so it fits in perfectly with what we are trying to do with day of service," Andrews said.

She says that without their volunteers, this and other programs would not be possible.

"We couldn't do it without the volunteers that we have. All year long, even just what they do on a regular basis. They are our lifeblood, and we are so lucky to have the best volunteers," Andrews said.

Both individuals and groups came out to support the food bank.

"We had the Elks come in today. We have Clearwater Paper. Clarkston's basketball team is coming in," Andrews said.

Pam Moore with the Lewiston Elk's Lodge #896 says they gave back to the foodbank in more ways than just one.

"We did write a back for the foodbank here for the youth program, for this backpack program, and we enjoy fixing the bags for them," Moore said.

For folks who are new to local volunteering, Andrews says the day of service is a good way to get into it and find the organizations that connect with them.

That is especially with the federal holiday of Martin Luther King Day.

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"This is an opportunity for people to have a day where they don't have to go to work so they can see what they can do to give back in the community. They can try to figure out what they're really passionate about. I mean, you can take the lights down at the park, you can volunteer on meals on wheels, you can come to the food bank," Andrews said.

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