Faces of Hunger

Sina: Partner Food Pantry Client

Sina's story is one of determination despite facing significant challenges. Sina persevered through an abusive relationship and raises three children on her own while working to improve her situation and provide the best for her children. After a temporary temporary separation from her children due to their placement in foster care, Sina became more motivated than ever her to seek out resources and learn how to better provide for her children. Sina's commitment to being both a mother and father figure to her children highlights her dedication to their well-being. Balancing motherhood can be demanding under the best of circumstances, and Sina’s determination shines through.

Dawn: Partner Food Pantry Client

Meet Dawn. She visits one of our partner food pantries to help feed her family after a series of difficulties left her family struggling to make ends meet.
Despite getting up at 2:30 in the morning for her job at the airport, Dawn was all smiles as she expressed how grateful she is for organizations like Utah Food Bank and her local food pantry, as well as all the fantastic people who support the resources that help her feed her family. “Utah is such a wonderful state. Everybody is so nice here; it’s actually really amazing. A lot of people might be ashamed, but it’s not embarrassing to need help. We all need help. And this food is so helpful. It really is.”

Jose: Mobile Food Pantry Client and Volunteer

Jose has volunteered since the Taylorsville mobile food pantry started, mostly because he had the time to do it and wanted to give back. He said it helps his four-person household save on grocery bills, and they sometimes get food for their neighbors, as well.

Elodia and Junior

Elodia was a nurse for 20 years and continued to work in the ICU when the pandemic began. But at the end of 2020, she got COVID and ended up in the hospital for weeks. The lingering health issues, including developing diabetes, means she could no longer continue her nursing career. Yet, Elodia didn't give up because she wasn't afraid of change. Elodia and her son, Junior, now get food from their local pantry, where she has been able to find nutritious food. "My son used to be a picky eater, but now he tries new things, and even enjoys preparing dinner for us. When you feel like everything is falling down around you, you must look at what means the most, which is family for me. You must continue the fight."

Luz & 5 kids: Food Pantry Clients

Luz started visiting the food pantry in April when her family of seven lost their emergency SNAP benefits. The rising cost of food has made it harder for this working family to make their dollars stretch. Her 10-year-old daughter Star, an aspiring scientist, also lends a hand to help her family bridge the summer meal gap. “I make these bracelets and sell them to help my family,” says Star, who will enter 5th grade this fall.

The Kendall Family: Summer Food Service Program

“Summers are long with five kids at home,” one Utah mom recently shared with us at a summer meal site. “When we come to the park for lunch, I notice the kids don’t graze out of boredom the rest of the day. That helps keep grocery costs down so I can stretch my food dollars further.” For many, the summer is a tough time for parents to fill empty tummies without the help of school meals. Utah Food Bank offers free, nutritious meals through the Summer Food Service Program, available at various sites across the state for kids 18 and younger, to help families just like the Kendall Family.

"Grumpy": Mobile Pantry Client and Volunteer

“Grumpy” Tom Wilson sits at the end of the line before cars leave the lot and keeps count with a clicker at a Taylorsville mobile pantry.
He said there were fewer cars at the start of the 2023 year, but the number is climbing now. Grumpy shares that many families come through with tears in their eyes and say they’d starve otherwise.

Ana: Food Pantry Client and Volunteer

When we were first married, my husband couldn't find work, so we relied on food pantries to make ends meet. Now my husband and I both work, and I own a food truck. We have three children, and a few years ago, the Mobile School pantry started up at the elementary school. I was thrilled because I thought volunteering there would be a great way to pay it forward and help others like we'd been helped. Also, even though we are doing better, with owning my own business, things still get a little tight sometimes, so taking extra food home is a big help. I love seeing the faces of the kids and families when the truck arrives with the food. I see myself in a lot of these moms, and I'll never forget where I came from, and because of that I'll never stop giving back when I can.

Steven: Mobile Pantry Client and Volunteer

Hunger doesn’t care if there is a thunderstorm, blizzard, or extreme heat. At age 65, this is something Steven knows all too well. So, Steven didn't hesitate to answer the call when Utah Food Bank asked for volunteers to help staff a new mobile pantry to provide additional support to fellow Utahns facing hunger during a particularly icy January. “The blessings are what keep bringing me back. I get many blessings from helping a lot of people. I met my two best friends, Jake, and Stacy, through Utah Food Bank.”