Utahns' need for food assistance triples as donations to Utah Food Bank decreases

Posted at 5:54 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 14:58:06-05

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — More Utahns are facing food insecurity and reaching out to Utah Food Bank for help.

“From 2 million pounds on an average month, we’ve gone to six million pounds a month,” said Ginette Bott, the president and CEO of the Utah Food Bank.

The most sobering fact is most of the recipients are first-time food pantry users, Bott said.

While the shelves have never gone bare, there isn’t as much food coming in at the Bountiful Community Food Pantry, a partner of Utah Food Bank.

One of the struggles across the board is the canceling of food drives.

“We had both of our spring food drives canceled, which has a huge impact. For us, that’s probably 300,000 pounds of food,” Bountiful Community Food Pantry executive director Maresha Bosgieter said.

The need for people to give is great, as Utah Food Bank is looking at long term solutions for those in need. One of the problems is not as many donations are coming in, Bott said.

“What we are seeing this year is people are recognizing they need to prepare, they need to be ready for their families, they need to provide first at home. So, I think donations have changed,” she said.

The Bountiful Community Food Pantry partners with the Davis School District and provides 11,000 pantry packs to kids in need every month. It’s been difficult to keep up with the need, Bosgieter said.

“Normally we’ve got businesses and eagle scouts and church groups and all kinds of individuals putting them together and when Covid hit, everybody kind of stopped,” she said.

Despite the struggles, the community has stepped up so that there’s always been enough to make sure everyone who needs food is fed, Bosgieter said.

“Just listening to those stories... When we offer to help someone and they call because they’ve never had to ask for help before, and we tell them, 'No problem, come on in. We will get you a basket of food,'" she said. "Just hearing the emotion in their voice — It’s just one of those things."

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