Ogden food pantry provides food, clothing and Christmas help for holiday weekend

Dec 23, 2022, 6:50 PM

NORTH OGDEN, Utah – At the Tri City Exchange in North Ogden Friday, over 2,000 Utah families received food, clothing, and Christmas gifts to help them through the holiday weekend.

“Today is really special,” Mike Larson, creator of the Tri City Exchange said. “We want kids to know that life is still fun, we want parents to know there is hope.”

The Tri City Exchange is a food pantry that opened in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and serves the communities of North Ogden, Pleasant View, and Harrisville.

“We started with 20-30 people and now we get 2,000 people every Friday,” Larson said.

Today’s community donation was extra special though — coming just two days before Christmas. It was an opportunity to help middle to low-income families struggling to make ends meet this time of year.

“They really give the Christmas spirt you want to feel, I’m going to get emotional,” Kelsey Pierce, who visited the pantry with her family Friday said. “Especially if you’re someone in need.”

Approximately 20 volunteers handed out boxes of fresh produce, meat, and other pantry items on Friday, at one point the line of those seeking the donations stretched through the parking lot and along Washington Boulevard. Those visiting the pantry could also pick up warm clothing, as well as Christmas gifts, wrapping paper, and holiday décor.

“I just have a passion for helping people and it kind of helps me,” volunteer Sylvia Randall said. “I started during covid, and I’ve been here two and half years.”

The pantry is open on a daily basis, but for some — Friday was a first visit.

“I was actually driving by, and we’ve been having some troubles lately and it’s been really hard, so this right here, it’s a blessing,” said Joanna Hathaway, who stopped by with her two children.

athaway said she recently lost her job and is now homeless. She said she’s staying with her bother over the holiday weekend and hopeful she’ll have permanent housing soon. In the meantime, she says the Tri City Exchange donation she received today will help feed her children over the holiday weekend.

“When you’re in the situation we are it makes the biggest difference,” she said.

At Friday’s community event, families also had a chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus; children then got to pick out books, coloring books, toys, and treats.

“He wants the kid to know that they’re important and what they think matters, and he wants them to know they’re loved as well,” Larson said.

At a time of year when funds are low for many families – the Tri City Exchange brought hope to many in need.

“We needed food, and now we know about this place and going to come back,” Hathaway said.

In the almost three years the Tri City Exchange has operated it has distributed 82 million pounds of food, according to Larson. He said he hopes to continue providing food to northern Utah’s middle and low income families for years to come.

“If you need anything at all, regardless of your income, come by and get what you need,” Larson said.

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Ogden food pantry provides food, clothing and Christmas help for holiday weekend