Emergency food supply for Salt Lake County mothers and babies arrives, but more needed

Posted at 9:25 PM, Oct 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-07 23:25:20-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Mothers living in Salt Lake County can breathe a sigh of relief tonight. A new shipment of baby formula and food arrived Monday morning.

The emergency supply was funded by Salt Lake County after WIC was forced to close its doors due to the government shutdown. The Utah Food Bank says the supply won't last longer than a week, so they're calling on the community to help hungry families, especially mothers and their children who depend on WIC.

Food bank officials say the time to donate is now.

"Washington D.C. may have the luxury of debating and debating and ending up in gridlock but in local government we know the community needs us to respond immediately," says Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

The council voted to dip into the county's savings last week, spending $137,000 on food for infants and milk for mothers.

"It's very unfortunate that the federal government let it get to this stage," said Councilman Jim Bradley.

While crates being delivered to The Utah Food Bank looked loaded with food, the reality is the emergency supply won't last long.

"I looked at the orders together and I think there were 690 containers of each formula, so it's almost 1,300 divided between those four pantries, I would think we have many more mothers in need here in the county alone," said Ginette Bott, Chief Development Officer with The Utah Food Bank.

The impact of the shutdown is being felt by mothers in need across the state. Salt Lake and Summit Counties are the only willing or able counties to step up. With several counties already declaring emergencies nearly a week into the government shutdown, The Utah Food Bank says the shelves at local pantries could begin to look bare soon.

"I think it will take us a couple weeks to see the increase in inventory but we are preparing for that and we know that will happen statewide," Bott said.

The Utah Food Bank says they need the community's help with baby formula, food and milk.