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Stay up to date on all the exciting happenings at the Utah Food Bank.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and we believe it’s important to acknowledge the connection between mental health and food insecurity. The challenges of food insecurity are many – it goes beyond empty tummies – and no age group is safe from the harmful effects it plays on mental health.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic and social impacts, including job losses, health risks, loneliness, supply chain issues and inflation, have hurt everyone. But it has been particularly damaging to the mental health of those experiencing food insecurity.

A growing body of research suggests that food insecurity is associated with poor mental health, including depression, anxiety, and stress. In addition, large-scale disasters and stressful environmental or societal conditions (such as COVID-19) are also associated with higher rates of adverse mental health outcomes. This means that the impact of the pandemic compounds all the challenges food-insecure adults were already facing.

Mothers and children, in particular, are at high risk of experiencing traumatic effects on their mental health. Food-insecure mothers have more than twice the rates of mental health issues than mothers who are food secure. The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that mothers with school-aged children who face severe hunger are 56% more likely to suffer from PTSD and 53% more likely to suffer from severe depression.

Compounding these issues, the odds of behavioral problems among children with food-insecure mothers are double those among children with food-secure mothers. Food-insecure parents are not just anxious about how it will hurt themselves but also their children. Children of all ages whose families are food insecure are at greater risk for mental health challenges, including poor early cognitive development, inattention, poor impulse control, decreased academic performance, and depression.

Older adults aren’t immune to the impact of hunger on mental health either. Adults aged 50–80 who are food insecure are 20% more likely to experience poor mental health than those who are food secure. With inflation rates rapidly increasing, the number of seniors on fixed incomes unable to afford enough to eat and still pay for their other necessities is also rising.

There is more to good mental health than having enough to eat, but when you can feed yourself and your loved ones, you can better cope with other mental health challenges. If you are struggling with food insecurity, please know that you don’t have to fight it alone. Utah Food Bank is here to help. Click here to find out about the resources available to you.

If you would like to join us in fighting hunger and making Utah a healthier, happier place, click here to donate now.

Mental Health


 

It’s back! After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the 30th annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is THIS SATURDAY, May 14! This is the nation’s largest 1-day food drive – it has provided 19.3 million pounds in Utah alone since 1993 – and we are so grateful to the many letter carriers whose hard work help make this event happen.

Participation is simple! Just leave a bag of nonperishable food items by your mailbox no later than 9 am on Saturday, and your letter carrier will handle the rest. If for some reason your food isn’t picked up on Saturday, please put it back out Monday morning. Alternatively, you can drop it off at a local food pantry, Utah Food Bank’s Salt Lake or St. George warehouses or any Harmons location.

All nonperishable food donations are appreciated, but healthier options that contain all-natural ingredients and are low sodium/low sugar with no high fructose corn syrup are ideal.

Our most needed food items include:
Peanut Butter
Mac & Cheese
Canned Meats
Chili
Canned Fruits
Boxed Meals

All donations will be distributed to food pantries located in the community where the donation is made, and they are sure to make a significant impact. “Donations received through this food drive come at a crucial time as school gets out and many kids are left without access to school meal programs,” said Ginette Bott, Utah Food Bank President & CEO. “Community support of this effort will truly make a difference in the lives of the 1 in 7 Utah kids who are unsure where their next meal is coming from. We are still seeing elevated levels of need due to continued economic fallout from the pandemic in conjunction with record-setting inflation rates.”

So don’t forget to put your bag out by 9 on Saturday morning and help make a difference for the 410,000 Utahns who don’t always have enough to eat!


Moms go hungry every day in Utah so their children don’t have to.

 
“My mommy doesn’t eat,” said a young girl during a recent visit to her neighborhood food pantry. Her mother was visibly embarrassed. But the other mothers there knew first-hand what the little girl’s family was going through. Her mother doesn’t eat because there’s not enough food, and she goes hungry—so her children don’t have to.

Evidence shows that food insecurity has damaging impacts on the health and well-being of children and adults in the short and long term. These impacts often hit womenand mothers especially hard. While researchers don’t typically break down food insecurity studies by gender, since women are more likely to be caring for children, they are more vulnerable to experiencing food insecurity.

As inflation skyrockets, it impacts the ability of families to afford essentials such as gas, rent and food. And lower-income women—especially mothers—carry much of the burden.

Every day, approximately 410,000 Utahns are at risk of missing a meal. As rising costs of food and housing stretch budgets even thinner, more hardworking neighbors are making sacrifices and impossible choices like paying rent—or buying food. But with your gift today, you can make it possible for families to eat—together. Every $10 you donate helps distribute $87.10 worth of goods and services.

If there’s a mother figure in your life you’d like to do something special for but who already has everything, why not donate in their name and send them an e-card to let them know! This Mother’s Day, show mothers and children in our communities how much you care with your support of Utah Food Bank. Together, we can fight hunger.
 


Many factors are involved in the challenge of caring for our earth, but food waste is a significant factor in that equation. In fact, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, “Globally, if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the US.”
 
Estimates suggest that 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed, while at the same time, nearly 1 in 3 people globally don’t have access to adequate food. Food waste and food insecurity aren’t just a problem somewhere else – they are an issue right here in Utah, where 1 in 5 Utah kids are food insecure.
 
Approximately 600,000 tons of food are wasted every year in Utah, while 410,000 Utahns don’t always have enough to eat. Through our Grocery Rescue Program, we are seeking to change that by helping keep food out of landfills and getting it into the hands of those who need it.
 
This program is a partnership between Utah Food Bank and retailers across Utah. It provides a safe and efficient donation outlet for food that is nearing its expiration date but is still safe, healthy, and wholesome to eat. Six days a week, Utah Food Bank and our partners send refrigerated trucks throughout the state and pick up unsalable food donations that would otherwise be thrown away. Instead, donations are collected and distributed within 24 hours to Utahns who need them most.
 
Last year, our Grocery Rescue Program provided 19 million pounds of food for Utahns facing hunger- 26% of the total food we collected. A heartfelt thanks to the 288 retailers across the state who make this possible! Click HERE to learn more about our Grocery Rescue Program and the partners that make it possible.

 


Step up to the tee to fill a plate! Registration is now open for our annual Driving Out Hunger golf tournament, to be held for the second year in a row at the beautiful Willow Creek Country Club Golf Course. As always, all funds raised from this scramble-format tournament will directly support Utah Food Bank’s mission of Fighting Hunger Statewide.

You can participate by forming a two-person or four-person team, becoming a Corporate Sponsor, or even opt for a “mulligan” by donating to Utah Food Bank without participating. There is only room for 35 foursomes at this event, and the registration deadline is June 10, so get your team together today and start practicing your swing!

Event Details:

7 am – 7:50 am: Check-in & Continental Breakfast
8 am: Shotgun Start
1 pm: Lunch & Awards Ceremony
Willow Creek Country Club
8505 Willow Creek Drive
Sandy, UT

*Cost:

Four-Player Team Entry: $1,200
Two-Player Team Entry: $600

*Includes continental breakfast and lunch

REGISTER NOW!

 

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