Utah Food Bank is thrilled to announce a $50,000 grant from the Morgan Stanley Foundation to help fund the expansion of the Mobile School Pantry Program in Utah County. The Mobile School Pantry program provides a cost-effective food distribution point for children and their families at the end of the school day in a safe and trusted environment—the school playground. Last year, Utah Food Bank served 305,000 individuals statewide, 169,000 of whom were children, through this program alone. Across the state, an estimated 142,320 Utah children, the equivalent of 1 in 7, face the pain of hunger.
Current research shows that children who lack sufficient nutrition are more likely to experience physical, emotional and developmental impairment. The Mobile School Pantry program approaches childhood hunger with the understanding that children are only truly protected from the pain and anxiety of hunger when their whole family has enough food to stay healthy. This approach makes the Mobile School Pantry program especially effective. Teachers and school administrators report that this holistic approach creates better educational environments and a stronger sense of community among the student body and their families.
This school year, the program has increased participating schools statewide from 69 to 85, with an additional 11 new schools in Utah County. Expansion throughout Utah County has been a significant priority of Utah Food Bank, partially due to the lack of food resources available for its residents who face hunger. In fact, despite the fact that Salt Lake and Utah Counties have similar hunger rates, the ratio of food pantries to people facing hunger in Salt Lake County is 1 to 1,397, while in Utah County that ratio is 1 to 12,458. Insufficient infrastructure combined with a general lack of awareness of need in Utah County means that this expansion will go a long way in helping to close this resource gap.
According to Kevin Johnson, Branch Manager, “With an engaged employee base and a culture of giving back, Morgan Stanley is honored to support Utah Food Bank in its efforts to help the children in our community get the food they need.”
“We are thrilled to receive this vital grant from Morgan Stanley in support of the Mobile School Pantry Program, particularly in Utah County, where 14% of children face hunger,” said Ginette Bott, President & CEO of Utah Food Bank. “Morgan Stanley is a terrific partner in Fighting Hunger Statewide, and we are grateful for the support its employees have shown through generous donations of both time and financial contributions.”
For more information about this program, please click HERE.