Fighting Hunger in Southeastern Utah & The Navajo Nation
Utah Food Bank is expanding its efforts to better serve the San Juan County community and the Navajo Nation, specifically targeting Utah’s indigenous population. Due to the challenging accessibility and remote geography of the area, our food deliveries have been limited to once a week in the past, with limited options for recipients. A known barrier to food security is long driving distances to food outlets like grocery stores and convenience stores. The Navajo Nation is classified as a food desert, with average driving time to food resources taking up to several hours one-way.
San Juan County residents face significantly higher rates of hunger compared to the state average, with 17.1% reporting food insecurity, as opposed to 10% statewide. Disturbingly, childhood hunger is even more prevalent, with 20% of children uncertain about their next meal, double the statewide average. To effectively address this critical need, we are currently constructing a distribution center in Blanding and establishing two Utah Food Bank-owned and operated pantries within the Navajo Nation.
Approximately 4,000 Native Americans in San Juan County lack running water, and many lack electricity in their homes. To address the specific needs of the people in this region, Utah Food Bank is committed to distributing culturally appropriate food that can be safely stored and cooked. Each of these three pantries will have a special focus on procuring and distributing foods that fit the Navajo diet and preferences, in addition to significantly increasing the amount of fresh produce available in the area.
Previously, access to food resources in this area was scarce and unreliable, as everything relied on volunteer-run efforts. To ensure dependable and consistent access to resources, each pantry will be staffed by Utah Food Bank employees. This not only guarantees regular operating hours but also creates employment and volunteer opportunities for the local community.
At Utah Food Bank, we know that it is not enough to occasionally provide food to these remote and underserved areas of Utah. Our task is to provide consistent food assistance that is thoughtful and respectful of cultural preferences, familiar, nourishing, and reliable. We look forward to establishing resources in this area that will serve generations to come!
Utah Food Bank Southeastern Distribution Center (Blanding)
Utah Food Bank Southeastern Distribution Center in Blanding is now open and encompasses an 18,000-square-foot distribution center with an attached pantry. This facility not only serves our current partner agencies in the region but also marks our first venture into operating pantries within the Navajo Nation.
295 East 200 North
Blanding, UT 84511
Hours of Operation & Donation Hours:
Monday – Friday: 9 am – 3 pm
Food can be dropped off at the public donation dock (east side of building)
Food Pantry Hours:
- Monday: 10 am – 2 pm
- Tuesday: 10 am – 12 pm, 2 pm – 4 pm
- Wednesday: 10 am – 12 pm, 2 pm – 4 pm
- Thursday: 12 pm – 2 pm, 4 pm- 7 pm
- Friday: 10 am – 2 pm
- 3rd Saturday of the month: 9 am – 12 pm
Volunteer Opportunities: Please get in touch with our Volunteer Department at: [email protected]
Utah Food Bank Montezuma Creek Food Pantry (Montezuma Creek)
Additionally, we are establishing Utah Food Bank Montezuma Creek Food Pantry in Montezuma Creek, conveniently situated across from the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center—a tremendous resource for the area’s residents. This 4,000-square-foot pantry is expected to open in March 2024.
Utah Food Bank Monument Valley Food Pantry (Monument Valley)
Utah Food Bank Monument Valley Food Pantry will be located in Monument Valley, adjacent to Tse’Bii’Nidzisgai Elementary School and on the Arizona border. This 4,000-square-foot pantry is also expected to open in March 2024.