Twenty-two-year-old Linden lives across the street from where the Second Harvest Mobile Market was about to take place on a sunny, fall day in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho. Bonner’s Ferry, self-proclaimed as “Idaho’s most friendly town,” has been home to him his whole life. He stood in line for the free food distribution next to his aunt—whom he calls his sister—waiting for the event to begin. Linden has lived with his grandparents since he was six months old and was officially adopted by them at age 17. He calls them Mom and Dad and his aunts and uncles his brothers and sisters. “You’re still the baby brother. Still have to listen to whatever I say,” joked his sister over her shoulder in line. He’s the youngest of five.
Linden attended the Mobile Market to get food for his mom and dad—both of whom are retired, live on a fixed income, and have trouble getting out of the house. His mom broke both her ankles a few years ago and “has her ups and downs.” His dad has a balance disorder, which makes moving around a challenge. Linden lives at home in large part to help them with whatever he can.
Linden comes to the Mobile Market whenever it’s in Bonner’s Ferry. “It really helps us. You can only do so much on that fixed income,” he said.
He loves the Mobile Markets—not just for the food, which provides his family with produce, bread and other staples, but also for the sense of community. “The whole thing… it just makes you feel welcome. A lot of food banks say, ‘What do you want?’ And then, ‘Leave.’ Here you can chit-chat with people. It’s enjoyable because you feel like you’re actually part of a community.”
When asked what Second Harvest could do to improve the Mobile Market program, Linden responded, “Sometimes you can’t improve on greatness. I wouldn’t change a thing. What you guys do helps the community in a really big way.”