LOCAL NEWS

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

Oct 4, 2019, 6:47 PM | Updated: Jul 14, 2023, 2:28 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

Local News

Police are asking for help in locating the driver in a hit-and-run that sent a Sandy mother and her...

Shara Park

Sandy police seeking help in locating vehicle involved in a hit-and-run

Police are asking for help in locating the driver in a hit-and-run that sent a Sandy mother and her teenage daughter to the hospital.

1 hour ago

Keith Sorenson opens a tool shed to display the tools of the trade. (Stuart Johnson, KSL News)...

Alex Cabrero

Taylorsville heritage center reclaims stolen historic anvils

A pair of historically-significant anvils were finally returned to Taylorsville after being stolen two years ago.

1 hour ago

Herriman police are seeking the public's assistance in locating 76-year-old Joe Vakuata. (Herriman ...

Mark Jones

UPDATE: Herriman police find missing 76-year-old man safe

Herriman police are seeking the public's assistance in locating a missing 76-year-old man.

2 hours ago

FILE - Taylor Swift performs during "The Eras Tour" in Nashville, Tenn., May 5, 2023.  (AP Photo, G...

Sam Herrera, KSLNewsRadio and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Weber State University to offer class on Taylor Swift this fall

Weber State University is offering a new course all about Taylor Swift, and students wasted no time signing up.

2 hours ago

A massive house fire in Orem, Utah is under investigation for the cause of the fire, which firefigh...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Investigators seeking more DNA evidence in massive Orem house arson case

Orem police investigating the massive house fire have requested to go back into the house to collect DNA evidence.

3 hours ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Cary Schwanitz

Code Blue issued for Salt Lake County

The Code Blue alert, issued by the Salt Lake City Council, prompts emergency shelters to expand capacity by 35%.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

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