Sanpete County Food Pantry Facing End-Of-Year Closure, Officials Say

Oct 4, 2019, 6:47 PM | Updated: 6:48 pm

MOUNT PLEASANT, Utah — Officials at the only food pantry in Sanpete County said it’s in danger of closing its doors by year’s end.

“We have seen a drop in revenue about 50% in the last, we will see that in the year to come,” said Sanpete Pantry Managing Director Sean Kearney. “We just can’t afford to do that anymore.”

According to Kearney, revenue sources have dried up for several reasons, and while they have the food, they can’t cover operational costs without the funds.

“We do the entire county, we do home deliveries for people who can’t get here, that are homebound or for whatever can’t come here, we provide 450 kid packs a month to students at risk,” he said.

Since 2013, the Sanpete Pantry, which is the county’s privately-run non-profit food bank, has provided meals for families in need across Sanpete County.

According to its website, it was “originally organized in the 1990s as Central Utah Food Share-Sanpete Pantry and was reorganized in 2013.”

The pantry serves about 12,000 people annually, distributing 30,000 pounds of food monthly, according to Kearney.

He said this translates to some 300 families per month.

Kearney also said while they’ve got plenty of food donations, thanks in part to a partnership with the Utah Food Bank, they just don’t have the cash to keep their doors open. He estimated the pantry needs between $50,000 and $70,000 to run annually.

“We have asked of the county $50-70K in revenue to help cover hiring a new Sanpete Pantry director — our previous one, unfortunately, passed away — and to help cover some of the costs that we will have to cover somehow with our loss in revenue,” Kearney said.

Funds would also be used to pay Pantry staff wages.

“We can not afford to keep paying our employees at the rate we’re going,” Kearney said.

Kearney pointed to several factors for the lack of funding.

One reason was the shutdown of a cardboard recycling initiative, with which they recycled and sold cardboard that ended due to a lack of volunteers and a drop in the paying price of cardboard.

Then, there was the shutdown of their sister non-profit organization Drive4Food, which raised funds for the Pantry after several key volunteers retired.

“Cardboard is one source, that was about 10%,” Kearney said. “Our reduction in donations has been about 20% of our budget and Dive4Food closing down is another 25-30% of our budget.”

Lastly, Kearney said they’re seeing a big drop in private donations. He thought this was due to changes in tax law, which made itemized charitable donations less appealing as standard deductions are now almost twice what they were previously.

“Some of that we believe is due to a change in the tax laws, less charitable deductions so people are donating less,” he said.

Kearney said the pantry has reached out to local cities and many have agreed to donate about $1 per family from their municipality served per year.

He says they’ve also reached out to Sanpete County officials. In the last few years, commissioners agreed to reimburse the pantry about $6,000 annually for utility costs. However, Kearney said this isn’t enough to keep the pantry running.

But with a surplus of $2.3 million in 2018, Kearney said the solution could be in the hands of Sanpete County.

“I think if anyone who is against this sort of thing, would bother to spend some time volunteering here, I think their outlook would change,” Kearney said.

If the pantry closes, Kearney said patrons would need to drive about an hour to Spanish Fork’s food pantry, which is open during regular business hours.

“We have heard speaking the talk that there are government programs that cover this sort of thing,” he said. “However, those government programs have been in place for years and yet we still feed almost 300 families a month, month after month, so they’re not succeeding.”

KSL 5 News reached out to Sanpete County Commission Chair Scott Bartholomew who said the county would not be providing comment at this time as they haven’t started their budgeting procedure and it would be premature to say the Sanpete Pantry will close at this time.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

A closed gate from Utah wilderness officials to prevent people from accessing the trail....
Lauren Steinbrecher

Forest Service hoping to reopen popular Big Cottonwood Canyon area closed over permit issue

The Forest Service is trying to work through a permit issue with private landowners right next to one of the most popular hiking trails along the Wasatch Front.
23 hours ago
Utah Red Cross members in Fort Meyers, Florida to help with disaster relief....
Mike Anderson

Utah Red Cross arrives in Florida to help with disaster relief

The head of Utah's Red Cross is in Florida Sunday night, helping in the long recovery ahead.
23 hours ago
FILE: Double Arch in Arches National Park
(Arches NP/NPS)...
Michael Houck

Woman’s body found at Arches National Park

Authorities in Grand County recovered the body of a dead woman in Arches National Park on Saturday.
23 hours ago
Francisco Jesus Huerta-Martinez, in 2015..
(Courtesy: West Valley City Police) Department...
Carter Williams, KSL.com

Fugitive charged with 2015 killing of West Valley woman arrested

A man who was charged with murder in the killing of a West Valley woman in 2015 has been arrested after seven years on the run.
23 hours ago
Southbound traffic halted near Kannaraville. (UDOT)...
Michael Houck

UPDATE: One dead in fatal crash in Washington County

A man is dead after losing control of his trailer, causing his car to roll over, and dying on the scene Saturday afternoon.
23 hours ago
The hail in Grand County compared to a silver dollar. (Courtesy: Seth Ohms)...
Michael Houck

Weather officials warn of hazardous storm with hail, lighting, and 60mph winds in southern and eastern Utah

Utah weather officials are warning southern and eastern Utah residents of half-dollar size hail and gusty winds Sunday afternoon. 
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Sanpete County Food Pantry Facing End-Of-Year Closure, Officials Say