The great people of Idaho are foremost among the blessings I am counting this Thanksgiving season. We have been tested by challenges this year, and Idahoans have repeatedly met those challenges with kindness, hope, good judgement and optimism. Throughout Idaho, we find countless examples of Idahoans doing great work and good deeds that are helping to lift us all up:
• Feeding Those In Need — In Idaho Falls, the Bridge Church, led by Pastor Jay Spangenberg, has been feeding members of the community since 2016. It is credited with providing more than 1.4 million pounds of food to those in need in 2020 alone. To bring this effort together, the Church has created many partnerships, and the volunteers represent other churches in the community. The volunteers enable a broad cooperative effort reaching many throughout the area who may be facing difficult circumstances and are a great example of others working in communities across Idaho to help ensure Idahoans do not go hungry.
• Spreading Joy — The Christmas Angels, in Lewiston, are helping 16 anonymous families this year through the help of more than 25 businesses and the hard work of Christi Dahl Evans, Chels Miller, Leza Shinkle and others. Christmas Angels has been giving to area families for the past 18 years. Christi Dahl Evans and Shannon Boren founded the organization with the help of their families in honor of generous loved ones who have passed: Christi’s aunt, Arlene; and Shannon’s father, Rick. Businesses can adopt or raise funds for a family. Anonymous community nominations determine the families. The organization deeply values its partnerships with assisting in providing for local families, “We are honored by those who are helping us by providing for families who are allowing us to help them provide a happy and joyful holiday.” Many like the Christmas Angels are at work in communities across Idaho providing to those in need during the holidays and throughout the year.
• Providing Opportunities For Youth — The Lincoln County Youth Center, opened earlier this year in Richfield, has done an amazing job of leveraging resources to enhance opportunities for area youth. The Center offers a preschool and afterschool program, with an agriculture and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focus. Through cooperative efforts and partnerships the Center has provided a plethora of activities to youth in Lincoln County that include farm tours, bike repair workshops, Drama Camp and more. The Center and other resources like it across Idaho are working hard to prepare young Idahoans for successful futures.
Common threads among these examples are not only the good they are doing, but also the partnerships they are leveraging to build resources and reach more people. They recognize the great value of working together to thoughtfully distribute shared resources and represent well the many other cooperative, charitable and educational efforts at work in Idaho communities. In a world that often seems so divided, it is wonderful to see the spirit of giving bringing so many together.
I am deeply grateful to the great people of Idaho at work in communities across our wonderful state, uplifting, encouraging and building up others and important efforts. You are shining lights of reassurance and inspiration. And, very importantly, you are helping Idahoans to know they are not alone. Thank you for your kind and giving efforts.