Story by: Karen Bossick from Eye on Sun Valley
The Hunger Coalition has been named the Grand Marshall of the 2021 Bellevue Labor Day Parade.
It is the town’s 96th Bellevue Labor Day Celebration Parade. And it will be followed by entertainment and food and other vendors in Bellevue’s Memorial Park.
“Typically, the Hunger Coalition works on Mondays, including holidays,” noted Sara Burns, who is helping to organize the celebration. “They had previously decided to take this much deserved Labor Day off this year and so we are honored to showcase the Hunger Coalition staff, volunteers and donors as the Grand Marshals of the Bellevue Labor Day Parade. And we look forward to their Bloom Truck, which brings so much comfort to so many in the community, in our parade.”
The parade will be held at noon Monday, Sept. 6. There will be a beer garden and entertainment in the park afterward.
1 p.m. Side Hustle
2 p.m. Mountain Time
3 p.m. Rookery 8
4 p.m. Danza Azteca
5 p.m. Huracan de Peru
Interested entrants are asked to gather starting at 11 a.m. on Second Street and the bike path north of Cedar.
Those who plan on participating can fill out an online form at https://forms.gle/QZt2rFK3hmGFwuaq6 to let organizers know who to expect. But it’s not necessary.
Serving the community since 2003, the Hunger Coalition has grown from a small team of volunteers collecting and distributing food to local families, working out of an office the size of a closet, into a 13,000-square-foot Community Food Center in Bellevue. The new campus includes a commercial kitchen and cafe, heated greenhouses, children’s room and expanded warehouse space.
A 2012 survey found that 17% of the community was accessing food from the Coalition’s food pantry but that 35% of the county’s residents were food insecure or one crisis away from being food insecure.
The organization launched Bloom Community Farm and Bloom Truck in 2016, taking lunches, books and fun opportunities up and down the valley to youngsters. By 2017 Bloom Youth Project, Volunteer for Veggies and a stronger Summer Food Program provided more ways for the community to eat well while giving back. By then, 19 percent of Blaine County was taking part in Hunger Coalition programs.
Of course, 2020 was a year for the books as the Hunger Coalition saw the number of people it served through its food pantry quadruple because of the pandemic. In April 2020 they served as many people as they had the entire previous year.
They borrowed space from Mountain Rides to store more food, and they bought a forklift to move food with the help of donations.