MURRAY, Utah — As inflation and costs of living continue to rise, it's a tough time for many Utahns as they look for where their next meal might come from.
One place, for especially kids to turn to, is the Murray Children's Pantry.
And while they are ready to help those in need, that need is quickly increasing.
“The need has picked up,” Jim Brass, President of the Murray Children’s Pantry said. “I attributed a lot of it to the cost of living but gas has a lot to do with inflation in general.”
Their main storage room is okay, maybe a little less than they would like, but it's their backup storage that is now almost entirely empty.
“All of a sudden we turned around that room was empty” Brass said. “I hate to use the cliche of a perfect storm but it was really a perfect storm.”
So they put out the message they might need some help on Facebook.
“For the first time in the nearly two years I've been helping the Murray Children's Pantry, there is more food going out than coming in," the post reads. "1,200-ish meals served last week. Think about creating a food drive that I will help you promote. If you can't come to our site in Murray, I'll come to pick up your donation."
The pantry is open Tuesdays from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM and every third Saturday, but Brass said that he will meet anyone at most anytime either to donate or to get food.
While they started by helping out kids specifically, the pantry quickly branched out to helping everyone they could with the motto, “We feed anyone in need. Just tell us how many adults and children you need food for.”
Brass breaks up the donations across the board between “weekend bags” which will feed a person for two days and “family boxes” which will feed a family of 4 for a week.
“We're averaging right around 1,200, 1,300 meals a week,” he said, adding that they will aim for over 50,000 meals this year.
That goal won’t be possible if they aren’t able to keep up with demands. The community is stepping up, with one community member bringing lots of goods this afternoon.
“To see that it's blossomed from there and gotten more support from different things and branched out into other opportunities for feeding children,” she said talking about the pantry growing from what it used to be.
So the big question is what do they need most?
Brass said things like:
- Shelf-stable milk
- Pudding cups
- Juice boxes
- Pancake mix
But they will take anything that hasn’t expired and is able to stay on a shelf.
Brass also explained that the team will always need help from volunteers during their food drives, both to give and to receive.
He also says about the kids and families that need help “That the look on their face is you know, spent a lot of time choked up here, but it's a good thing see.”