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In our 115-year history, none of us can remember a time of uncertainty like this (although admittedly, none of us can remember back quite as far as when we first opened). Many furloughed employees have been working without pay and face a lot of uncertainty about how they will be able to pay rent AND put food on their tables. Our primary role is emergency food assistance, which means we and our partner agencies are here to feed anyone who has found themselves in a situation where they can’t afford food. We are not here to take a stance on politics, but to help those who need it, and judging by the number of people reaching out who want to help, many share this same goal. Hopefully, this information will be a resource to those wishing to help, along with those seeking help.

What is Utah Food Bank Doing About It?

Because we distribute food through a statewide network of 150 partner agencies, such as food pantries, we serve more as a distributor than a service provider. We send this food completely free-of-charge to agencies in all 29 counties who directly serve those facing hunger.  The biggest uptick we are hearing about is coming from our partner agencies in the Ogden area, and we are in constant contact with them to ensure that we help them keep their shelves fully stocked so that they can help those affected. Our partner agencies have been asked to offer assistance to anyone who can show proof of federal employment, no questions asked. In addition, we are ready to send Mobile Pantries to areas who may need additional services focused in specific geographic areas. This includes distributions focused on helping TSA employees affected by the shutdown.

How Can I Help?

We always ask for 3 things: food, time and money. Right now, financial donations are our primary focus as the uncertainty of this situation requires that we remain flexible and ready to help on short notice. With our ability to stretch each $1 donated into $7.34 worth of goods and services, we’ll put your generosity to good use!

As more time elapses, needs will become greater and more wide-spread. But our partner agencies also need help, and you can donate food directly to them if you prefer. Here’s a list of them so you can find the location nearest you. They may have additional needs, and we encourage you to call them directly for more information.

But donated food does a lot of good, and in fact provides a variety that we can’t match with large-scale purchases. You can host a food drive, donate food to us or your local pantry, and even drop off food at any Harmons location in the state (in fact, you can do that year-round). If you need a list of our most-needed items, click HERE. You can also donate to our Virtual Food Drive, or even host one yourself, which allows you to select the items you’d like us to purchase using our incredible ability to stretch donations.

What Else Should I  Know?

One of the most pressing concerns right now are the 200,000 Utahns who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This program is federally run, so funding is currently tied up due to the shutdown. Benefits will be distributed at twice their normal rate in January, meaning that recipients will need to budget and plan accordingly, as the next distribution may not come until March. If the federal government doesn’t reopen by that time, we anticipate a drastic increase in requests for food assistance at pantries across the state, as it could mean there is no funding available for March. The longer this goes on, the more our direct service programs are at stake, but we are monitoring the situation closely and will plan accordingly to have as few service disruptions, if any, as possible.

Where Can I Get Help?

Visit your local food pantry. Take some proof of federal employment with you to expedite the process, as our pantries have been instructed lift typical income requirements.

Call United Way’s 2-1-1, for a directory of services nearest you. Or, text 898-211 with your zip code and you’ll be sent a list of resources in your area within moments.

 

The bottom line is that we, along with the rest of the country, are navigating through uncharted waters. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters, we are fully committed to continuing to fight hunger statewide. Thank you for your support during this critical time.

Recipient Family


1 in 7 Utah kids, which equates to 142,000 children, are unsure where their next meal will come from.  Utah Food Bank is teaming up with KUTV, America First Credit Union, Chick-fil-A, Check City, Rocky Mountain Power, Your Local Ford Stores and Smith’s Food & Drug Stores to help fight childhood hunger.

The Souper Bowl of Caring started in 1990 when a South Carolina Sunday school teacher used Super Bowl parties as a modern-day example of gluttony when fans eat wings, pizza and chips they don’t need, while at the same time someone in the same town goes hungry. The class asked everyone leaving church on Super Bowl Sunday to donate $1 from their Super Bowl party budget to fight hunger. What started as a small movement has grown to a national effort to give back on a day of plenty. This effort has already started and culminates with KUTV’s day-long telethon on January 30, so be sure to set aside a bit of your Super Bowl party budget to help us continue Fighting Hunger Statewide!

 

How Can You Participate?

  • Donate to our Souper Bowl of Caring Virtual Food Drive. Fill a virtual shopping cart with the items we need most and take advantage of our incredible purchasing power, all without the hassle of having to visit a store.
  • Host a food collection effort through the Souper Bowl of Caring organization. You’ll report your success through them so that it can all be counted in the national total!
  • Tune in to KUTV’s all-day telethon on January 30 and call in to donate!

 

With our ability to stretch each $1 donated into $7.34 worth of goods and services, every donation has an impact on Utahns facing hunger!

Souper Bowl of Caring


Here in Utah, we have an abundance of what we often refer to as our “bookends” population—seniors and children. Nationwide, more than 5 million senior citizens struggle with hunger. In the next 8 years, the number of food-insecure seniors is projected to increase by 50% when the youngest of the Baby Boomer Generation reaches age 60. According to Feeding America’s Hunger in America Study (2014), 8.4% of the clients we serve are over the age of 60, and many of these clients often have to make the difficult decision of buying food or medication.  Our Food Box Program is designed to help, but we need help to reach the thousands of Utah’s homebound seniors who are unsure where their next meal will come from. You can help us feed this incredibly vulnerable population with just an hour-and-a-half of your time each month.

Utah Food Bank’s Food Box program provides free, monthly food assistance to homebound individuals with disabilities and seniors living in poverty, delivered right to their door by caring volunteers. Each of these boxes contains approximately one week’s worth of non-perishable food as well as additional bread, fresh produce and protein items when available. For many recipients, the monthly volunteer delivering their box is often one of the few visitors they receive, offering a bright spot in their difficult lives.

Last year, close to 11,000 of these boxes were delivered – primarily by volunteers, but our volunteer numbers for this program are dwindling. This is a great way to get young kids involved in giving back (after you receive approval from the recipient), and it can be completed on your own time. Please help us continue to offer this program by signing up to be a regular food box volunteer.  If you are interested in finding out more and to sign up, please click here.

Senior Hunger


There are only a few days left in 2018, which means there are only a few days left to double your impact for Utahns facing hunger!  Thanks to a friend of Utah Food Bank every gift will be matched, up to $50,000, through December 31! With our ability to stretch each $1 into $7.48 worth of goods & services, just imagine the impact your gift could have while we have a donation match available! This means that a gift of just $100 will now provide $1,500 worth of goods and services for the 150,000 children, and 382,000 individuals, who face hunger in Utah.

 

If you are hoping that your gift will count for the 2018 tax year, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If donating by check, it needs to be postmarked on or before Monday, December 31.
  • If you want to bring your donation to us at our Salt Lake warehouse, please do so no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 31.
  • If you are making an online donation using your credit card, it must be completed by midnight on December 31. Please note that the transaction is official once the charge is made, not when you pay the bill.

Thank you for your support throughout this incredible year! We look forward to continuing to expand our services and impact in 2019!

Click here to double your year-end gift!

Donation Match


Most of Utah’s school children are about to be on a two-week holiday break. No homework, no tests and no math. But for 142,000 Utah children (which equates to 1 in 7), it often also means no lunch. When school is out, kids facing hunger don’t have the security of school meal programs, and already-struggling families have to work even harder to ensure they have enough food to get them through winter break.

But it’s not just school meals. There’s the after-school Kids Cafe meals that often serve as dinner for participating children. We also distribute food at Mobile School Pantries at 67 schools in the state, offering free food for children and their families directly from the playground of their local elementary school. Many local schools even have pantries within the school office.  With school out, this entire safety net of food assistance disappears, and parents have to find a way to fill what’s called the nutrition gap…but nutrition is only part of it.

There’s more than just missed meals. If you’re barely getting food on the table for your children, imagine how hard it is to provide holiday gifts. Parents may have to stay home from work to take care of their kids, meaning paychecks get even smaller, and budgets get even tighter. You may not think about the cost of heating your home for a few extra hours, but when every cent counts, parents may be forced to choose between putting a coat on in the house and putting a PB&J on the table.

Unfortunately, the only ways we can reach these families during winter break are through our 149 partner agencies throughout the state and our Mobile Pantry distributions. If you or anyone you know needs help during winter break, here are some resources:

  • United Way 2-1-1: text 898-211 with your zip code or dial 2-1-1 (toll-free) for services in your area.
  • Find a Pantry: get food and other supplies from a pantry in your area.

Holiday Break Family


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