One thing that people are often surprised about is that we distribute food to partner agencies and through direct service programs in all 29 counties in Utah, not just the Wasatch Front. In fact, we have 149 partner agencies across the state, in addition to a second warehouse in St. George. Our Southern Distribution Center is crucial in reaching Utahns facing hunger in the seven southernmost counties, and even just across the border in some communities in northern Arizona.
Food insecurity and poverty levels in rural areas often exceed those of urban areas, and in some counties those statistics are worse than national averages. While the statewide average is 1 in 8 Utahns facing hunger, the average for our southern counties hovers closer to 1 in 6 individuals who face hunger. To combat hunger in these areas, we deploy a variety of tactics including Mobile Pantries, Mobile School Pantries, Emergency Food Assistance and more. In addition, our Southern Distribution Center partners with 18 local grocery retailers as part of our statewide Grocery Rescue Program, which helps provide fresh food that is nearing its expiration date but still healthy to eat.
We also host special events to help draw attention to the issue of hunger in Southern Utah, including our H.A.M. It Up Against Hunger Race, presented by SkyWest Airlines. This year’s fourth annual event will help commemorate national Hunger Action Month, and will be held on September 29, 2018, at Crosby Confluence Park in St. George. It’s a family-friendly 5K with all proceeds directly benefiting our work in the area, and we hope you’ll help us spread the word if you or anyone you know is in the area!
Fighting hunger across such a large service area with such varying needs and capabilities can be a daunting task, but we are committed to continuing distribute food free-of-charge to our partner agencies. We know that without our partnerships, we’d never be able to reach the 392,000 Utahns facing hunger!