LOCAL NEWS

Utah Food Bank Kicks Off Large-Scale Food Drive To Feed 500K Residents

Mar 16, 2021, 12:58 PM | Updated: 8:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With a large-scale food driving coming up this weekend, the Utah Food Bank says help is needed now more than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a big reason why.

Many Utahns may have received a hanger on their front door within the past week. The notice is from the Utah Food Bank, and they’re asking for residents to leave food by their front doors before 9 a.m. Saturday, and a volunteer will be by to pick it up.

The Feed Utah Food Drive is the first statewide food drive of its kind, organizers said.

The Utah Food Bank’s director said they’ve seen an increase of about 100,000 families facing a food shortage over the past year. Many of them are experiencing food insecurity for the first time due to economic situations surrounding the pandemic.

Of all the lines we wait in, the one Jalene Ingersoll waits in on Fridays doesn’t bother her at all.

“Oh, it means the world,” she said. “It’s been saving us a lot of money.”

That’s because when money is tight, food becomes the most important item in the world.

“This has been so helpful for more people than they know,” said Ingersoll.

Every week, people line up in their cars outside a Salt Lake City church, as well as in nearly 50 locations throughout the state because they need food.

Volunteers with the Utah Food Bank want to make sure they get it, especially as the need has grown this past year by more than 160,000 families.

“We’re seeing things we never expected to see and hope to never see again,” said Ginette Bott, who is the President of the Utah Food Bank.

The COVID-19 pandemic, with lost jobs and wages, has hit many families harder than the virus itself.

“Service for us has been so challenged,” said Bott. “The need has been so increased. So many people who have never asked for service before have had to come to pantries to provide for their families.”

Since the need is so great, there is a special food drive taking place this Saturday in Utah.

The Utah Food Bank is packing trucks and warehouses full of food for Saturday's Feed Utah Food Drive. (KSL TV) (KSL TV) (KSL TV)

During a news conference at the Utah Food Bank Tuesday morning, Utah Governor Spenser Cox, as well as other state leaders, announced the food drive.

Governor Spencer Cox even declared March 20 as Feed Utah Day.

Although there have been food drives before, many say the need now is as great as ever and are asking people to give generously.

“We will fill the food bank. We will fight hunger,” said Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women General President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Anybody can also bring donations to a food bank close to them.

Bott said roughly a half-million Utahns are facing some type of food insecurity right now.

“This has been an incredible year for all of us in a variety of ways. Here at the Utah food bank, the need has increased dramatically,” said Bott. “We’re here for all of them.”

“The past year has been divisive, it’s been difficult, it’s been a challenge for so many,” said Gov. Spencer Cox. “Utah is doing better than any other state. We were named as the best economy just last week in the United States, but those numbers obscure some of the difficulties that families in our state are facing.”

Cox said he believes Utah will come together to help those in need.

The Food Bank said the donations will help bring food to about 500,000 Utahns who are facing hunger, including 1 in 5 children who don’t always have enough to eat.

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Utah Food Bank Kicks Off Large-Scale Food Drive To Feed 500K Residents