Utah Food Bank Southern Distribution Center Expanding to Feed the Need

Posted on

Despite a record-setting snowfall, we proudly unveiled our Utah Food Bank Southern Distribution Center expansion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in St. George on March 2, 2023.

Local businesses, elected officials, volunteers, supporters and community members joined as we celebrated the completion of this mission-critical project. Guests toured the 12,000 square feet of additional warehouse storage space, including a walk-in refrigerator; expanded volunteer project space with a dedicated volunteer entrance and registration desk; and staff meeting and workspace. The warehouse expansion also allows the storage and processing of 700 pallets of food, almost double the 350 pallets the facility could handle before the expansion.

Opened in 2011, Utah Food Bank Southern Distribution Center serves Utah’s six southernmost counties: Beaver, Iron, Washington, Garfield, Kane and San Juan. Last year, this facility distributed close to 4.7 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 3.9 million meals, to southern Utah residents. The expansion of Utah Food Bank Southern Distribution Center in St. George is crucial to enhancing our ability to fight hunger statewide for generations to come.

The recent expansion of Utah Food Bank Southern Distribution Center in St. George is crucial to enhancing our ability to fight hunger statewide.

“The need is growing, and more and more people are fighting hunger,” Southern Distribution Center Director Jacob Miner said. “And that’s where we are today. We’ve learned that as St. George grows, so does that need.”

Mike Carr, who has worn various hats in his long service with Washington County Schools, is currently the support services coordinator for the district.

“At this point, we have 15 mobile food pantries with one pending,” Carr reported. “We have eight in-school pantries with three pending. Altogether that’s 27 schools out of the 50 schools in the county that the Utah Food Bank now serves.”

Carr continued with some sobering statistics. He said there are 33,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students in Washington County, and 40% qualify for free lunch. Further, he said, 725 students qualify as being homeless.

Utah Food Bank President & CEO Ginette Bott told the crowd that when it came time to name the new volunteer facility, there was no doubt to whom it would be dedicated.

Linda Trujillo moved from Salt Lake to St. George in 2011 to run the distribution center and brought her entire family. Over the years, she became the rock that the foundation of the food bank is built in southern Utah.

“You integrated yourself into this community, and you’ve done so much for so many,” Bott told Trujillo, who was in the crowd and pleasantly surprised when her son, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter all showed up to share her honors.

“As we come in and out of these doors every single day, we’ll think of you as a leader, as a mother, as our friend and as a volunteer,” Bott said. “We love you, and thank you.”

Trujillo herself was overtaken with emotion, but her children Jenny and Billy told St. George News the family couldn’t be happier.

“The food bank is part of what shaped us into who we are,” Jenny said. “And to have her as a role model has just been incredible. To see what they did to honor her name in this means the world to my mom, and it means more than I could ever say.”

Billy said that the family was eager to move to St. George and continue a long-standing family record of service.

“Watching her pioneer the food bank down here has been an honor. It’s been incredible watching her reach out to the community and how the community has embraced the food bank and helped get it going,” he said. “It’s much more than a job to her. It’s her passion. She loves helping people and wants to help people in need.”