Just one small idea can have a huge impact on the lives of many people. Ali Dunford moved to Jackson 15 months ago from Boulder, Colo. When she first arrived, she spent time dumpster diving.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with that term, it means you look in dumpsters for food and merchandise that stores have discarded. Ali shared the food she found with her roommates and friends, but there was too much. Like most people who come to Jackson, they believed that everyone who lives here is wealthy, but after being here for a while Ali found that was not the case. She was surprised to find that there are hungry and needy people living in Jackson Hole.

In June, Ali decided to work on behalf of those in need. She partnered with the Jackson Cupboard, the food pantry housed on the St. John’s Episcopal Church campus, and made arrangements with Persephone Bakery, Jackson Whole Grocer and Albertsons to pick up their overstocked or near-expired food. Along with 20 volunteers Ali distributes food to Teton County Victim Services, the Senior Center of Jackson Hole, the Good Samaritan Mission, the Latino Resource Center and the Community Safety Network.

There are about four pickups a day, seven days a week. Ali says more than 40,000 pounds of food have been distributed since June 24.

Statistics show that one out of six people in our country is “food insecure.” Food waste is also a huge issue. Forty percent of food is wasted from producer to consumer.

There is another component to this story. The food the volunteers collect that is not edible is given to Haderlie Farms in Thayne for the pigs there. Any leftover food goes into compost. Three cheers for Ali Dunford and her volunteers!

In 1915, Martha and Clarence Dow, Mormon pioneers from Utah, traveled to Jackson Hole by covered wagon and built a log cabin on the corner of King Street and Pearl Avenue. They lived there for about five years. Many other families lived there, including longtime residents Ed and Emily Coe, who operated a blacksmith shop. During the early 1950s, George and Norma May Nethercott lived in that home and rented a room to Helen Seaton.

In 1954, Howard and Gloye Walters moved into the log cabin with their five children. According to their daughter Ena Walters Mercer, all the kids slept in one very large bedroom with no heat. On winter holidays their mom would use the room as an extra refrigerator. All she had to do was close the door. They were the fastest-dressing kids in Jackson.

There was a Coleman stove in the next room, and they would huddle around it. Ena remembers that the rent was $25 a month. She says she wouldn’t change those experiences for anything. There were four girls and a boy in the Walters family. Marlene and Ena live in Powell, LaVon and Nick in Washington and Cheryl in Pinedale.

In 1976 the log cabin became a restaurant. You know it as Sweetwater Restaurant.

Mary Waid, a 15-year resident of Jackson, was an officer U.S. Navy in the early 1960s. In those days almost every female naval officer was a nurse, but she was a very rare line officer. She could do anything a man might be assigned to except serve onboard a ship. She was a classified materials control officer and the communications officer at a naval research laboratory outside Washington, D.C. Her jobs required taking extreme care with highly classified materials, especially top-secret ones, and making sure messages reached only the appropriate people. There were nine naval officers and about 3,000 civilians at the laboratory.

A couple of events after Mary’s officers candidate training in Newport, R.I., stick in her mind.

Only two days after she reported for duty there was a disaster: The laboratory’s highly secret, newly commissioned submarine “Thresher,” went down with a full crew and never came up.

Mary also was on duty when President Kennedy was shot. As the communications officer, she was one of the absolute first to know of the assassination, and it was her responsibility to report to the commanding officer. She will never forget the agony of that day.

Mary has always been very happy and proud that she served as an officer in the United States Navy.

Email your Circling the Square information to Connie Owen at connie_owen@msn.com or call 734-9512.

(1) comment

Malvina D

Throwing away food is considered to be an individual affront to the manufacturer in many cultures. There are a lot of people who experience food shortage and we are lucky if we are not suffering such problems but that doesn't mean we can throw away our leftovers. Learning how you can maximize your leftover food use can save you cash. Get a short term loan to help pay for your food.

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