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Food pantry founder honored with Dream Team surprise

Posted at 3:00 PM, Jun 12, 2024

A community food bank for people in the Ogden area is booming, with thousands of families getting help each week.

Every Friday in North Ogden, over a thousand people line up for Community Day – a tradition created by Mike Larson, Founder of Tri-City Exchange.

With empty carts and wagons in tow, they’ll soon be filled with healthy food…all of it thanks to Larson and question from his wife four years ago.

“We didn’t know what we were doing, we just wanted to help. My wife came to me and said, ‘there’s no food at the grocery stores.’ You know...I started looking. It would be easier for me to help masses then to help ourselves,” said Larson.

Larson is an engineer and an entrepreneur, skills that built a business armoring vehicles for police and the military. He knew he could transfer those skills to his new charity, Tri-City Exchange, and his laser focus shifted.

Larson has stepped away from the day-to-day management of his companies to pour his heart and soul into serving those in need.

Government grants dried up, and Larson’s business suffered. But he keeps pouring what he has into helping his neighbors.

“My wife and I, we don’t have a whole lot right now. We used to have hot rods…and motorhomes and toys. I sold all that.”

All of the money has been poured into Tri-City Exchange to get the equipment necessary to help everyone who shows up.

“If you have a bill to pay then somebody goes hungry until that bill is paid. That creates anger in the home. Fighting, distress, etcetera. So, we decided we’re going to help everybody. Period. That is our motto. We help everybody,” said Larson.

Volunteer Sharlene Call has been lending a hand at Tri-City Exchange every week. It started as a favor to a friend.

“I came two years ago wanting to help someone that I knew,” said Call.

Now she volunteers on weekdays helping with elderly and disabled customers.

On Friday? That’s when the community comes out in droves for Tri-City Exchange’s weekly “Community Day.”

Call said, “On Fridays we ask for a $5 donation. There’s many who don’t have the $5. He will never turn anyone away."

This month, together with Mountain America Credit Union and Master Autotech, The FOX 13 Dream Team is proud to honor Mike Larson from Tri-City Exchange for all the work he has done for his community.