News

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

Want to take chance on a phenomenal prize AND help us feed Utahns facing hunger at the same time? Consider participating in our Night at the Warehouse gala Opportunity Drawing! For a suggested ticket price contribution of $100*, you may participate in our World Traveler Opportunity Drawing on April 27, 2019. You do not need to be present to win!  Opportunity Drawing ticket sales close at noon on Saturday, April 27. Click on the image below for more information. 

 

The opportunity drawing winner will receive a $1,000 Visa gift card and will get to choose one of these spectacular international travel destinations!

Opportunity Drawing Destinations


Utah Food Bank and its partner agencies across the state are working with the Boy Scouts of America to help Fight Hunger Statewide during the 33rd annual Scouting For Food, scheduled for Saturday, March 16.  This food drive comes at a critical time when supplies at Utah Food Bank and emergency food pantries are beginning to thin following the holiday season. This effort has provided the equivalent of over 19 million meals since the effort began, and scouts hope to hit the 21 million meal mark with this year’s efforts. To put that in perspective, if each household in Utah donated two cans of food, they would reach their goal!

Scouts will be going door-to-door across the state to distribute reminders to Utah residents during the week of March 11th. Utah residents are encouraged to fill any bag or box with non-perishable food items to leave on their doorstep by 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 16th, when Scouts will return to pick up the food donations. All donations will be delivered to Utah Food Bank, regional food banks, and emergency food pantries statewide. Alternatively, donations can be dropped off at your local food pantry or regional food bank, or at Utah Food Bank’s Salt Lake warehouse (3150 South 900 West).  Once again, the Utah National Guard will come out in full force with logistics support on the day of the food drive as well! Residents who receive door hangers as reminders may also support the Scout’s efforts financially by taking their door hanger to any Smith’s Food & Drug Store between March 15 and March 18, where they can donate at check stands.
 
“It is so rewarding to see the members of Utah’s three Boy Scouts of America councils working with the Utah National Guard to help us fight hunger statewide. We truly appreciate all the hard work that goes into this effort, and the impact that it has on the one in seven kids in Utah who face hunger,” said Ginette Bott, Utah Food Bank President & CEO. “When kids are hungry, they can’t concentrate in school and entire classrooms can be affected. The youth participating in this effort will be helping fellow classmates or friends—and will also positively impact the classroom environments at their own schools.”
 
Donated food should be commercially packaged (non-glass), non-perishable and nutritious items (ideally low-sodium and low-sugar items). Most-needed food items include beef stew, chili, peanut butter, boxed meals, canned meats and canned fruits and vegetables.  For more information about Scouting for Food or to find a local food pantry, visit www.utahfoodbank.org/scouting.
 
Scouting For Food


During the recent federal government shutdown, help came to us all in all directions, and we can’t express our gratitude for the outpouring of support we received. It was a time of uncertainty for thousands of federal workers in Utah, and we helped our partner agencies meet the increased need by ensuring a consistent and increased supply for those areas most affected. We are proud that we have enough product to be able to meet such a sudden increase in need, and especially proud at just how nimble and creative we can be, especially for an organization of our size.

A few weeks in to the shutdown, we received a call from a man whose first concern was for his staff, who just happened to be the TSA workers at the Salt Lake airport. He wanted to know if there was anything he (or we) could do to help them through this tough situation, which was new to so many. What these, and many other federal workers, were experiencing is what is referred to as “episodic poverty.” Hard-working Americans who may have never before experienced such a major and abrupt financial shortfall suddenly found themselves unable to make ends meet.

To help, we quietly filled our Mobile Pantry truck with food and took it to the airport for these workers, who were still showing up without pay. We distributed food to these TSA workers in the parking lot, but it was obvious that many were too embarrassed to accept this much-needed help. So we took what was left and created a make-shift pantry in an office inside the airport where workers could go without prying eyes. For many of us who were there that day, it was one of the most humbling experiences we’ve had as staff members at Utah Food Bank. We don’t do what we do for thanks, but we were all so touched by this thank you message that we thought we’d share. The letter accompanying the certificate you see below stated this:

“On behalf of the entire TSA Utah staff, I would just like to say thank you for the amazing support you gave our organization during the time of the partial government shutdown (furlough). The food and hospitality you provided were a great help to our dedicated and vigilant workforce, and I appreciate your help in making this difficult situation more palatable for all. Your thoughtful support, donations and gestures of goodwill helped boost employee morale and helped our officers and staff feel valued and appreciated, which in turn bolstered them in their ongoing commitment to the accomplishment of TSA’s mission to keep the traveling public safe. Thank you for making a difference with building a stronger community and partnership!”

 

TSA Appreciation Certficate

 

While we are so glad this is behind  us, please keep in mind that there are still millions of American families who are just one unexpected medical bill or car repair (or missed paycheck) away from needing help. According to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Board, if faced with an unexpected $400 expense, 40% of American adults would need to either borrow money, sell something or not be able to make that payment.  It often surprises people when they learn that most of the families we serve are working families, many working more than one job.  This experience shined a light on what episodic poverty is, and just how easily it can occur…to anyone (even your neighbor), and just how appreciated your support is!


This year’s 10th annual Night at the Warehouse Gala will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at our Salt Lake warehouse. The event theme this year is auto racing and will focus on how supporters rev up their engines to help us “Race Against Hunger.” Activities will include live and silent auctions, dinner and our always-exciting “Pit Crew Cook Off” Iron Chef Competition, which features some of Utah’s finest chefs. We will also have the opportunity to purchase a multitude of gift cards to local restaurants through our Restaurant Board. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the scope of Utah Food Bank’s efforts to help this in need and find out more about how we are continually refining our approach to fighting hunger.

Tickets can be purchased for $150 per person, or $1,500 for a table of ten. Attire is casual, and if you happen to have clothing that matches the theme, that’s even better! We are currently seeking items for our silent and live auctions, as well as gift  cards from local restaurants that we sell at full face value. If you have a business that might be willing to donate something, please contact Rachel Kelly at Rachelk@utahfoodbank.org.

All proceeds directly benefit our mission, so we hope to see you behind the driver’s seat at this fun event!

FIND OUT MORE…

Night at the Warehouse Gala


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


Call To Action Icon

Hunger Is All Around Us. Help us make a difference.

Education & awareness help us fight hunger.

Check Stats Give Money