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Number of Utahns needing assistance from Utah Food Bank has doubled, if not tripled, Pres. and CEO says

Posted: 5:52 PM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 19:52:27-04

SALT LAKE CITY — These last few weeks have brought a lot of changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From restaurants closing dining rooms, to schools facing a soft closure, and people being asked to practice social distancing, our towns, communities, state and country look different these days. These changes have brought hardship to many who have lost their jobs and are not sure how they will feed their families. Many of those people are asking for help, Utah Food Bank President and CEO Ginette Bott said.

“We are seeing people who never, ever considered the fact that they would have to have this kind of help are now making changes to their lifestyle, preparing for the needs for their family,” she said.

The need for help has doubled, if not tripled, Bott said.

“The last two weeks have been like absolutely nothing we have ever seen,” she said.

Utah Food Bank is the only food bank in the state serving more than 180 agencies statewide. Right now, they are asking for three things: money, volunteers and food.

“We are always asking for help financially. You know, cash for us is something that we are going to need as the need increases, transportation increases, warehouse costs increase. Just the general cost of business is going to go up,” Bott said.

With more people needing assistance, the need for monetary donations is significant. Each dollar donated turns into $7.66 worth of food and services. You can donate by clicking here.

Food bank leaders are preparing and planning for this need to increase during this uncertain time. They expect to see more people reaching out, needing help.

“I think all of would say the uncertainty is really, really frightening. It’s what you don’t know,” Bott said.

While the need continues to increase, operations cannot stop, Bott said. The non-profit is taking precautions to protect the staff and volunteers. No more than 10 people can be in one area at a time, people are wearing gloves and asked to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer often and only volunteers between the ages of 12-60 can come in right now.

What’s been inspiring has been to see so many people already stepping up to help, Bott said.

“When we put out the call for help, people rally — they step up, they support us,” she said.

Some of those people answering the call for help Tuesday included Nikki Plowman and her children.

“I was like, oh we’ve got to do something good while we are sitting around,” she said.

While she has volunteered here before, this was her daughter's first time.

If you would like to donate or sign up to volunteer, click here.