The need for food assistance in Utah has grown substantially since the COVID-19 Pandemic began. With more people out of work, and kids out of school more people are turning to the Utah Food Bank and their almost 200 partner agencies for help.
“Donations have been down, food donations are down, and we are going to have about 165,000 extra people to feed and we need to raise about $6.5 million to do that,” Utah Food Bank President and CEO Ginette Bott said.
The Utah Food Bank, and other food banks across the country, are facing challenges they have never seen before, Bott said. Bott credits the giving culture in Utah for knowing they will raise the money to make sure all Utahns are fed. They are in need of monetary donations. Fidelity Investments donated almost $750,000 in just one month to help out. Another challenge the non-profit is facing: no volunteers. The Utah Food Bank hopes to have volunteers return sometime in June. Volunteers replace about 50 full-time employees, Bott said.
One of the Utah Food Bank’s partner agencies, the Bountiful Community Food Pantry, has also seen an increase in need. The food pantry usually feeds around 800-1000 people each week, right now that number is up about ten to 15 percent, Lorna Koci, Exec. Dir. Bountiful Community Food Pantry said.
“We want people in need to understand food pantries are here,” she said.
The Bountiful Community Food Pantry is taking extra steps to ensure everyone’s safety, including sanitizing, volunteers and staff members wearing masks and having guests wait outside six feet apart instead of coming inside to get their food.
Food pantries can help with more than just food, Koci said. Please don’t be afraid to come get food if you need help, she begged of people.
“We want our first timers to the food pantry a message that we are here to help them. That it is okay to come get food,” she said.
The Bountiful Food Pantry needs monetary donations, as well as food donations. You can drop off donations in the non-contact bins outside the pantry doors.
To help find a food pantry near you and other Utah based assistance available, call 2-1-1.
For more information on the Utah Food Bank and how you can help, click here.
For more information on the Bountiful Community Food Pantry, click here.