It seems like everywhere you look there is an unprecedented amount of need due to the fallout from COVID-19. Job loss and school closings have led to a dramatic increase in food insecurity for many in the world, and that is certainly true here in Utah.
We are adding Mobile Pantries across the state, modifying the way we distribute, and taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our clients and volunteers. We have seen a 161% increase over last year of the number of households we serve. For many of these distributions, that means lines of cars stretching as far as you can see. At one particularly busy site we are now serving upwards of 800 families each week.
In March, we distributed 19,000 meals to children missing meals due to school closures. In one week in April, we distributed 12,000 meals in Salt Lake School District alone, and we estimate we will distribute 40,000 in May to that district’s students, with plans to expand even further.
The other side of that coin has been an unprecedented outpouring of support, in the form of food, time, and money.
With the closing of restaurants and hospitality industries, has brought with it an influx of generosity both from restaurants with too much product on-hand and suppliers such as Sysco Intermountain. Truckloads of commercial food like GoGo Squeez, Tranont, Hearthside Foods and more are streaming into our warehouse. The amount of fresh produce and meat products we are receiving is also astounding, from new donors such as DOT Foods, and long-time donors such as Walmart, Granite School District and Pitman Farms. We cannot even name all the incredible donations of product we are seeing because it’s coming in so rapidly!
While we did have to shut down to external volunteers in early April, the show of support we received when we put out the call for help was remarkable, and we cannot wait until we can see all of your faces again.
The outpouring of financial support has literally knocked our socks off, between the community, foundations, corporate partners and more…we cannot thank all of you enough for your generosity!
The fight is far from over. The impact from coronavirus will be felt for a long time. But with your ongoing support we will be here, fighting hunger statewide, as long as there is a need. We are grateful for all those who fight along with us, for everyone who has asked “how can we help?” We truly couldn’t do it without you!