Utah Food Bank prepares for statewide drive

Mar 13, 2023, 7:00 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Food Bank is gearing up for the biggest locally driven food drive of the year, and the timing couldn’t be more critical.

“If we do this statewide and we’re all involved, we can help every county in the state of Utah,” said Ginette Bott, president and CEO of the Utah Food Bank.

With inflation, the rising cost of food, and SNAP benefits ending or being significantly reduced this month for many families, the Utah Food Bank is preparing for a spike in the number of Utah families needing food assistance in the weeks and months ahead.

“There are many circumstances that are changing for families,” Bott said. “And families who have been depending on those (SNAP benefits) are going to be receiving less dollars, less ability to shop and procure food that way, so the need is going to increase and they’re going to go to pantries.”

This week, red and white hangers will be placed on doors across the state asking Utahns to participate in a massive collection effort called “Feed Utah.” The hanger asks Utahns to leave a bag of non-perishable food outside of their door before 9 a.m. Saturday, which will then be picked up by local volunteers and church organizations.

Donations can also be dropped off at sites across the state, including Utah Food Bank’s Salt Lake and St. George warehouses, Macey’s Grocery locations, and community pantry sites. Monetary donations are also welcomed at UtahFoodBank.org.

“A food drive like this lets us all participate,” Bott said. “It makes it very easy — you can give food, you can give time, you can give money, those are the three things the Utah Food Bank needs.”

This is the second time the Utah Food Bank has partnered with local organizations: Macey’s Grocery, Just Serve, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to gather these donations.

And the goal of this statewide effort is to collect enough donations to help feed an estimated 289,00 Utahns, which includes one in nine children who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

“Go to your pantry, let your kids select their very favorite items that they would like to eat and give to another child,” Bott said. “Education and awareness are crucial. Use this opportunity to teach your kids about hunger in Utah.”

The most-needed food items for this donation include peanut butter, canned meat, canned fruit, canned meals, mac & cheese, boxed meals, rice and pasta.

“The exciting part of a food drive for us is that it’s a variety of food — it’s exactly the food you have in your pantry, the food that your family would enjoy and other families would like,” Bott said.

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