IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIDK/KXPI) - It's an umbrella humanitarian organization that serves more than 100 local service groups that, in turn, serve our needy. And yet, not too many people know it even exists.
"And there are so many people in this community that are in need that are homeless, hungry, have so many issues, and for us to be able to help them is unbelievable. It's such a rewarding feeling," said Mozelle Neville with the Idaho Falls Humanitarian Center.
That feeling. You wouldn't believe the number of people I talked to at the center that brought up, that feeling.
"The feeling that is here is totally giving."
Neville is one of the handful of organizers that keeps this huge effort moving forward. And it is growing. The center began six years ago with only about 10 to 20 people volunteering their time in a church. Now, it occupies a large building with, on average, 250 volunteers coming to serve every Tuesday and Wednesday each week, from individuals and groups, to even youth groups.
"These kids are unbelievable," said Neville.
The center serves as a workshop where volunteers make quilts, blankets, newborn kits, hygiene kits, toys, and other crocheted and sewn items.
"And then we have an outreach couple that calls several of these organization each week and asks them what they need each week. Today, I think we had about 26 orders that we were delivering," said Neville.
The humanitarian center is all non-denominational and totally community-driven. Time to "Pay It Forward."
"Mozelle, hi, how are you? My name is Kory and I'm with Mountain America Credit Union," said Carling interrupting Neville's interview. "And your organization has had an impact on many families in our community."
"Oh, my goodness," said Neville.
"Either through your location here or through the many organizations that you help support. And for that, I'm here to 'Pay It Forward,'" said Carling.
"Oh, you're kidding," said Neville.
"So I've brought with me today, $500 in cash that I know you'll put toward good use and continue to help the families in our community," said Carling.
"You're going to make me cry," said Neville.
"Thank you for all that you do," said Carling.
"Well, thank you," said Neville.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"We really appreciate that. You just don't know. We will put this to good work," said Neville.
"I know you will," said Carling.
"Let me tell you, it will be used very well. Thank you so much," said Neville.
"You're welcome. My pleasure," said Carling.
"Gosh, that is a surprise!" said Neville. "It's just unbelievable what this has turned into and the lives that are being touched."
There is increased demand and services provided by the humanitarian center. The total volunteer hours increased from 104,000 hours in 2014 to 162,192 in 2015. Items delivered from 13,000 to 23,093. And the value of the goods from $440,000 in 2014 to $783,171 in 2015.
There are a couple misconceptions. The humanitarian center is not operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is an independent, community-based 501(c)(3) non-profit. No.2, all of their items remain in Eastern Idaho. Very rarely are they sent overseas or to other countries. And No. 3, humanitarian aid donations that LDS Church members make with their tithing slips, do not come here. The center only survives on grants and donations.
If you'd like to contact the Idaho Falls Humanitarian Center, the phone number is 208-497-2868.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.