Parker Subaru is committed to making a lasting, meaningful contribution to the local fight against food insecurity in the Coeur d’Alene community. Since its official unveiling in October of 2018, the Parker Subaru Food Pantry, an open-air donation collection box, has been consistently stocked and maintained by the dealership as a way to give freely to the community. With the message “Take what you need, give what you can!” printed brightly on its signage, the instant impact of the Parker Subaru Food Pantry is hard to miss.
Located on the corner of Government Way and Clayton, the pantry has the space to hold a wealth of nonperishable food and household items. It is left unlocked so that anyone in need of extra help is welcome to take food and personal care items as they need them. The pantry was first unveiled on October 24, 2018, and Parker Subaru states their staff is “committed to keeping the food pantry stocked at all times” with nonperishable food donations.
According to a study conducted by Feeding America called Map the Meal Gap that analyzed the relationship between food insecurity and indicators of food insecurity at a state level, hunger in Idaho is trending in a positive direction over the last few years, but there are remaining gaps to be filled.
“Since 2013, when this report showed the highest food insecurity numbers for our state, overall food insecurity has decreased by 23 percent, and child food insecurity has decreased by 27 percent. This is encouraging to see and is reflective of the economic recovery after the Great Recession,” said Karen Vauk, president and CEO of The Idaho Foodbank.
The numbers changing in the right direction is encouraging; unfortunately, one in eight total Idaho residents, and one in six children, is still food insecure. In total, about 12.3 percent of the state population remains insecure.
“Even with the good news, it’s important to remember there are more than 210,000 people who still need our help. We are most concerned with the counties showing increases in either overall or child food insecurity,” Vauk stated in a call to action to continue the efforts to raise awareness and support throughout the state.
The impacts of food insecurity can be seen and felt throughout a community, whether it be through developmental challenges attributed to poor nutrition or the absence of adequate resources to provide for the hungry. Such an issue requires collective support of community members and organizations to fight it together, and the fight can be as simple as a food pantry donation.
The dealership’s staff checks the food pantry daily. They uphold their commitment to keeping the pantry full with food drives and monthly grocery trips big enough to replenish the pantry’s non-perishable supplies for weeks.
Parker Subaru has held several large-scale food drives in support of community initiatives. One of their highlights was the Subaru Club Food Drive and Meet Up to introduce and collect donations for the newly unveiled food pantry. The meetup included local Subaru clubs Sandpoint Subies, Lilac City Subies and River City Subies.
Parker pulled out all the stops for the drive to host hundreds of people in a barbecue, raffle and pie eating contest in their service drive.
“By the end of the day, we were floored by the immense amount that was collected,” stated Parker’s Social Media Marketing Specialist Giselle Zenner.
Pet supplies were also collected throughout the event and later donated to local animal shelters.
The food drive saw the dealership’s several parking lots overflowing with participating community members and bags full of donations that would keep the food pantry full for weeks. Parker Subaru takes pride in the huge success created by each of their partnership events. They held two food drive events with neighboring Subaru communities in 2019 to support the food pantry and look forward to more in the future.
Active participation from the Coeur d’Alene community members is encouraged. To make contributions from Coeur d’Alene locals as simple and accessible as possible, Parker Subaru has multiple donation drop-off locations throughout the dealership, including at the food pantry itself, the front desks within the dealership showroom, in the service drive and in the parts department.
Nonperishable food items, household products and unopened personal hygiene products are encouraged as donations, and they are accepted throughout the entire calendar year. Parker Subaru staff members take responsibility in ensuring the pantry is never empty. As documented in a fun video posted to their YouTube account, staff members have visited Super 1 Foods to collect a full shopping cart of items including canned foods, boxed meals, cereals, nut butters and snacks, as well as hygiene items like toothbrushes, shampoos and paper products.
The staff members brought their own reusable Parker Subaru bags to fill with the groceries, which they promptly delivered directly to the pantry. Once the pantry is stocked again, they bring all remaining items back to their dealership to hold in back storage until additional replenishment is needed.
As a whole, Parker Subaru emphasizes its commitment to serve and share resources within the community. They are proud to share with the community their Food Pantry, which is just one part of their commitment to the Subaru Love Promise. The Promise is a company-wide commitment to show love and respect to all and make a positive impact in the world.
Parker Subaru has in fact been nationally recognized for their commitment to the Subaru Love Promise. In 2019, they won the Subaru Love Promise Customer and Community Commitment Award. The award serves to recognize Subaru retailers who strive to provide exceptional customer experience in every interaction.
According to Subaru, the Love Promise community commitment is based on a passion for creating a positive force through both donations and actions. They emphasize partnerships with local nonprofits and charities to provide assistance, not only to customers but as many community members as possible, and promote a sense of love and connection.
Parker Subaru’s local efforts to maintain the Love Promise encompass more than the food pantry alone. The dealership maintains various partnerships with local charities and nonprofit organizations. They contribute to community-supportive events and initiatives including Pet Adoption Day, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Canines vs. Cancer and Perfect Attendance Spells Success, or P.A.S.S., contributing to local high schools.
Food insecurity continues to improve in Idaho, but the fight isn’t over. Thanks to the large-scale efforts of companies like Parker Subaru, the Coeur d’Alene community is given the opportunity to contribute in ways that don’t break the bank or require a lot of time—but certainly add up to a major impact.
You can contribute to Parker Subaru’s initiative to fight food insecurity in the community by bringing donations directly to Parker Subaru or its Food Pantry on the corner of Government Way and Clayton. Connect with Parker Subaru on Facebook and YouTube to follow their upcoming events and initiatives, and to see more of their community contributions in action.