24hrs with a Local, Spring

24hrs with a Local: Hunger Coalition’s Kristin McMahon, April

In this monthly series, we check in with one of our adventurous locals to find out how they would spend a perfect 24 hours in Sun ValleyApril edition.

This April isn’t quite what we expected. Far from skiing the corn on the Baldy Bowls and drinking Bloody Mary’s at River Run, here in Sun Valley, we are sheltered-in-place and trying to make the most of our new reality.

For this special edition of 24hrs in Sun Valley – April, I caught up with Kristin McMahon, the Communications and Development Supervisor at The Hunger Coalition. The Hunger Coalition “builds a healthy community through access to good food and addresses the root causes of food insecurity in collaboration with key partners.” Over the past few weeks, The Hunger Coalition has served twice as many people as usual at their curbside Food Pantry, which is open three times a week.

Kristin and I chatted about what her typical day sheltered-in-place looks like, and how The Hunger Coalition is supporting the community during this uncertain time.

With the shelter-in-place order in effect, what do you do first thing in the morning?

I made sure to stock up on coffee, so I start out by getting my coffee brewing and then logging into my team’s morning video conference. Those of us who are in admin are working from home, and the meeting is a meaningful touchpoint. You don’t realize how much you appreciate your co-workers until you can’t just turn to them to bounce ideas off of or laugh over total nonsense!

This is an emotionally taxing time, especially for those on the front lines [at The Hunger Coalition], but we’re weathering the storm together. It’s powerful work and we’re humbled to be a part of all the ups and downs.

For more self-isolation inspiration, check out full line-up of ideas at https://visitsunvalley.com/uncategorized/self-isolation-inspiration-sun-valley-idaho/

What’s next on the agenda?

I might take my dog for a walk — fresh air is an important part of my daily routine. I live on 30 acres, so sometimes I walk the perimeter of my property, or I walk in my neighborhood. I see more of my neighbors out than ever, and it’s fun to wave at each other from afar.

How do you spend the rest of your morning?

I handle all of the marketing and communications for The Hunger Coalition, so I’d work on social media marketing, email communications and respond to media requests. We’re trying to keep the community informed and involved. So many people have invested in our emergency response. We want to make sure everyone has a birds-eye view of their impact and knows they’re a part of something greater than themselves.

Tell me a bit more about what The Hunger Coalition is up to during all of this.

Hundreds of locals are reeling from mass closures and layoffs.The Hunger Coalition has a vital role ensuring everyone in our community has the food they need. Our Food Pantry, which is just one layer of what we do, has revved up. Our distribution model of having people shop in our small grocery aisle clearly wasn’t going to work, so we transitioned to curbside pickup. The staff and a limited number of volunteers pre-pack grocery bags with food staples and then walk them to people’s cars. We’re also investigating other options to get food to those who are extremely vulnerable, like seniors and people whose immune systems are comprised. 

24hrs in Sun Valley April - bagging veggies for distribution
photo: Naomi Spence // Hunger Coalition
24hrs in Sun Valley - April - Hunger Coalition bags ready for distribution
photo: Sloan Storey // Hunger Coalition

Our whole team has been quick to adapt and quick to adopt new models. We know this is just the beginning. Even after isolation orders are lifted, the financial impact of the virus is going to echo for a while. We’re bracing for a marathon. 

How can the community help?

The safest and most hygienic way to help is to make a donation to The Hunger Coalition on our website at thehungercoalition.org/act/donate/ or send a check to 121 Honeysuckle Street, Bellevue, ID, 83313. If you aren’t able to donate, you can help us get our message out by following us on Facebook or Instagram and sharing our posts.

Also, we’re committed to being here for people. Everyone has been affected by this pandemic in some way and anyone who is struggling afford food should fill up on the groceries they need to persevere — if you need it, come on down. Our curbside Food Pantry is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm at our headquarters in Bellevue (121 Honeysuckle Drive) and Thursdays from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm at the Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum (100 Saddle Road). 

Ok, so back to your day of shelter-in-place, what’s for lunch?

I’ve been experimenting a lot with soups, especially ones based in potatoes or rutabagas, which are staples of mine that keep so well in the kitchen. Shout out to Atkinsons, who is doing such a phenomenal job of keeping their shelves stocked during this!

I’d also check in on my seedlings. I’m a burgeoning gardener. I saved seeds for the first time last summer from my most prolific tomato plants, and I started them inside this spring. I didn’t know what would happen, but they are growing, and it’s incredible. They give me hope for the future.

You sound very busy with work, but let’s pretend you had an afternoon off. What would you do?

Along the same lines of harvesting my own food, I got into hunting last year. So I might work on my shot or go glassing for critters somewhere down in the Picabo Hills.

Or, I’d go for a float of Silver Creek in my inflatable kayak, maybe from the Willows to Point of Rocks. It’s a beautiful float, and there’s always the chance you might see a moose. It’s an extraordinarily tranquil place, which is most needed these days.

How about dinner?

I am all stocked up on beef from Silver Springs Ranch, so I’d cook a steak on my fire pit, and pull together a salad using produce from Kraay’s Market & Garden or Atkinsons. 

How would you finish out your day?

I’d keep the fire going in my fire pit and hang out outside. That’s one silver lining in all this — we can still enjoy so much of what we already did, just in a new, weird way.

Learn more about The Hunger Coalition’s programs, from their Food Pantry to their Bloom Community Farm and The Hope Garden, at https://thehungercoalition.org/.

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