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More people turning to food pantries for help; Utah Food Bank sees major increase in need

Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 20:01:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Food Bank is seeing a major increase in the number of people needing assistance.

As the number of Utahns without a job growing, many people who have never needed help from the food bank are now in need, according to Ginette Bott, President and CEO of Utah Food Bank.

“Our numbers have at least doubled, sometimes tripled in areas we are serving,” she said.

Utah and Salt Lake Counties are in the most need right now, Bott said, but other areas like Davis and Weber Counties are also starting to feel the impacts. The increase in need comes with a hefty price tag.

“Right now, as we are looking at what we are trying to do, the expenses for us have skyrocketed. Transportation isn’t easy, it isn’t inexpensive by any means,” Bott said.

Right now, the Utah Food Bank is asking for monetary donations. As the state’s only food bank, the non-profit works with 182 partner agencies across the state, like Crossroads Urban Center. The non-profit has one of the busiest emergency food banks in the state.

“We’ve seen a lot of homeless folks, which we usually do, but more than usual. And a lot of families that are coming for the very first time or that we haven’t seen in a long time,” Crossroads Urban Center executive director Glenn Bailey said.

Things look different now at the downtown location. Sidewalk chalk keeps people 6 feet apart and people wait outside while staff members go inside to prepare food boxes for those in need.

“The people who answer the front door, bring out food, talk to people who are coming to us — when everybody else is being told to stay home and they are still here, still doing the job, that is pretty inspiring to me,” Bailey said.

For more information on how you can donate to the Utah Food Bank, click here.

For more information and how to donate to the Crossroads Urban Center, click here.