Southeastern Utah Distribution Center & Food Pantries

Expanding to Feed The Need

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 19.1% reporting food insecurity, as opposed to 9.2% statewide. Disturbingly, childhood hunger is even more prevalent, with 24.8% of children uncertain about their next meal, which is more than 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.

Utah Food Bank Southeastern Distribution Center (Blanding)

Utah Food Bank Southeastern Distribution Center in Blanding encompasses an 18,000-square-foot distribution center with an attached pantry. The expected completion timeframe is late fall 2023. We anticipate hiring 11 staff members for this location, which will provide much-needed employment opportunities for the area and also engage the local community through volunteerism. This facility will not only serve our current partner agencies in the region but also mark our first venture into operating pantries within the Navajo Nation.

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 late fall 2023.

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 late fall 2023.


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!

Community partnerships and support are crucial to our mission. If you would like to know more about this exciting project or find out how to get involved, please contact Ginette Bott at 801-887-1283 or [email protected].