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Debi worked her whole life, and was making great money while managing multi-family housing, when her world crashed. She used to be quite an athlete on top of it, participating on local roller derby teams. She was loving life, until at age 42, she went to roller derby practice and her legs just wouldn’t move. After many doctor visits, she was diagnosed with Lupus, which 10 years later has turned into multiple other disabling health issues. At age 53, she is confined to a wheelchair and on oxygen 24 hours a day. She can hardly walk, and falls over if she stands up too long. Debi has undergone over 60 surgeries, so her medical bills are astounding.

Her age means she doesn’t qualify for assistance through Meals on Wheels or Medicare, and her disability check for $1,600 a month means she doesn’t qualify for other food assistance such as SNAP benefits. When you take out rent, utilities and medication, there’s not much left for food. The only program she qualifies for is Utah Food Bank’s Food Box Program because she is homebound and disabled. This monthly food box has been a lifeline for Debi, and it means she always has bread and peanut butter, even if she has nothing else.

According to Debi, “I am pretty educated about food, so I can usually combine the ingredients to make something. Sometimes I cut the cheese in half to freeze, and put half a loaf of bread in the freezer, because it’s just me and that way I can make it last longer. The frozen fruit has been great to add to protein smoothies that my doctor has asked me to drink, and I don’t waste anything and am always willing to share if I have extra.”

Debi says that not working drives  her crazy. In fact she has changed her schedule so she sleeps during the day and stays up at night because that way she doesn’t have to see so many people being productive and going places because that just makes her feel worse.

“Each time I get the food, it means I am going to be okay for another few weeks. One time I was so hungry that I just opened up a can of fruit and ate it straight out of the can. It really brightens my day when the boxes come and they have been decorated by the kids…it’s just so sweet,” says Debi. “The volunteer who brings my food box even sometimes brings her son, and it melts my heart to see how excited he is about getting to help me.”

“I’m an example of someone who had a great life, but then one thing went wrong in my life and it’s never been the same. With my health issues, I know that it never will be the same again,” Debi states. “Anyone could find themselves in this situation, and I am so glad that there area amazing programs like this to help people. I don’t know what I’d do without it.”

If you would like to learn more about our Food Box Program, or are interested in volunteering to deliver boxes, please click HERE.

Client Story - Debi


Double your impact by giving an end-of-year gift to Utah Food Bank! Each online donation made between December 28-31 will be doubled up to $50,000, thanks to a matching grant made possible by generous friends of Utah Food Bank.


Every gift to help us support families struggling with hunger will be DOUBLED.

With your doubled gift, we can provide twice as many meals for kids at our Mobile School Pantries. Twice as many meals delivered to homebound seniors and disabled clients. Twice as many holiday meals for families in our communities.

374,000 Utahns don’t know where their next meal is coming from. 1 in 7 children might go to bed hungry tonight. These statistics illustrate the magnitude of the hunger, but with supporters like you, we can fill more tummies and continue fighting hunger statewide.


Please donate today.

Donation Match

 


374,000 Utahns do not have enough to eat. 1 in 7 Utah children is at risk of missing a meal. These statistics are startling, but for some of us, it may be hard to understand what it really looks like to be food insecure. One of our clients graciously shared what it’s like to be a mom when tough choices like paying for food or heat are a daily struggle.

Brittany and her husband live in Salt Lake with their two young boys. “It’s hard because I want to give my kids everything and be a good mom,” Brittany shared recently. “When I don’t have the options to give them healthy food or a traditional holiday dinner or ice cream for their birthday, it makes me feel bad.”

Both Brittany and her husband work multiple jobs to try to make ends meet. “My husband works full time in the financial industry. He has a college degree, but we are still living at the poverty level.” Brittany works as a manager at a movie theatre, makes and sells handicrafts and babysits in exchange for food. “It’s not a factor of being lazy – we don’t live off the government”.

“The other day I had my coat on in the house and I could not get warm. I went and checked the thermostat and it was 42 degrees in the house. I finally decided to turn the heat on because we are allowed to do things like that when we really need to because of the food we get from the Mobile Pantry. It sure was nice to turn it on!”

The Mobile Pantry has made a big impact on their daily living. “[Through the Mobile Pantry] we’d get a loaf of bread or chicken – things to help us survive. The things that make life comfortable, like turning on the heat, or a mop, or even having medicine to ease your child’s pain are things we’ve been able to do thanks to the help we receive from the Mobile Pantry.”

All parents want to give their children these “little luxuries” like ice cream on their birthday or keeping a house warm in the winter. But even without all of those things, Brittany shines with positivity and gratitude, “Life is still wonderful and beautiful, but it would be nice to have more. The Mobile Pantry has given us that.”

When you donate food, time or money to Utah Food Bank, you are helping parents like Brittany and her husband make sure their children have enough to eat. And there are families just like Brittany’s living in every county in Utah. Please consider a gift of food, time or money this season and help us fight hunger statewide. UtahFoodBank.org/holiday

Recipient Family

Click here to learn more about Brittany and her family’s story.


Nearly 5.5 million seniors in the United States and 12% of Utah seniors struggle with hunger. Since 2001, hunger among seniors has increased by 45%. This number is expected to grow to more than 8 million by 2050.

Just like children, seniors require proper nutrition to stay healthy and strong. Not having enough nutritious food is especially damaging, significantly increasing their risk for chronic health conditions like depression, heart attack, asthma, and congestive heart failure.

Senior hunger is complex. Many seniors live on fixed incomes and have limited finances, so they are often forced to choose between feeding themselves and other family members, paying medical bills, or housing expenses.

A real-life example of how complicated this struggle can be is Pat & Red, an elderly couple who worked their entire lives but never made enough to save. They spent what they had to provide for their family. But now in retirement, they are left with a small, fixed income. They depend on their grown children, who have families of their own, to provide assistance. But even with the help of their children, Pat & Red are still unable to make ends meet. They skip meals. They skip medication. Pat is a diabetic. Red has severe, advanced Alzheimer’s and requires 24-hour care.

There are many ways Utah Food Bank is working to support these clients. Our Food Box program is just one of those ways. Last year we delivered over 46,000 food boxes to homebound seniors and people with disabilities. This invaluable resource not only hand-delivers a week’s worth of food, but it also serves as a welcomed visitor by someone who cares about them.

There are many ways to give back to seniors in our communities whose needs can be hard to see. You can give food, time or money this holiday season and make sure everyone in Utah has enough to eat.

To find out more about our senior hunger programs, please visit utahfoodbank.org/programs/

Pat&Red
Pat & Red

Today is Giving Tuesday, and an anonymous friend of ours will match your gift, up to $25,000! With our ability to stretch each $1 into $7.34 worth of goods & services, just imagine what we could do with just a $10 gift while we have a donation match available!

With 1 in 7 Utah children unsure where their next meal will come from, supporting us on Giving Tuesday could go a long way to ease the burden of hunger on these children.

Following several days of plenty such as Thanksgiving, Black Tuesday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday kicks off the giving season by inspiring people to give back across the globe. This global day of giving harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity.

Please consider supporting us, or any of the other non-profit organizations who improve lives and communities this Giving Tuesday!

CLICK HERE TO DOUBLE YOUR GIVING TUESDAY DONATION!


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