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

Join us, Feeding America and our nationwide network of food banks this month as we help draw attention to the issue of hunger! To help us mobilize the public to act on behalf of the 48 million Americans facing hunger–and the 417,000 in Utah alone–we ask that you to lend your voice to the fight against hunger on social media during September. To participate in the Empty Plates Social Media campaign, all you have to do is share an image of yourself holding an empty plate and a message about what you can’t do on an empty stomach. If you want to use a paper plate, you could even write the message “On an empty stomach, I can’t ________” then in your comments let us know what you can do to help. Or use an empty dinner plate and just write your message in the post. Be sure to use the official #HungerActionMonth hashtag and tag us so we can see it, and perhaps we will share it on our social media as well! You can find us as Utah Food Bank on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Empty Plates Social Media Campaign


After 24 years of working alongside Utah Food Bank to help feed the estimated 417,000 Utahns who face hunger, Fidelity Investments® has perfected a recipe for success. This year, Utah employees’ Summer Business Food and Fund Drive garnered more than $176,000 in donations, which will help feed more than 150 Utah families for a year.  Harnessing their time, talent and resources, employees used fun activities, team-building endeavors and, yes, a bake sale to raise the impactful proceeds. Starting in 1994, Fidelity’s employees have taken what began as a holiday food drive resulting in 800 pounds of food and turned it into a year-round partnership with incredible impact on an issue important to Utahns.

This year’s “We Think, We Can” drive among almost 1,975 employees statewide encompassed activities such as a chili and cornbread cook-off, a “Pie in the Face” activity, trivia contests and friendly team rivalries. Volunteers moved the drive to summer after finding out that it is often the most critical time of need for many families who depend on school meal programs during the school year.

In addition to their drive commitments during the summer, Fidelity sponsors and provides volunteers for the Mobile School Pantry at Jackson Elementary School, one of the 67 monthly program sites that Utah Food Bank will host during this school year. Chris Wimmer, Fidelity site general manager, said the bond between Fidelity and Utah Food Bank is as important to Fidelity employees as it is to Utah Food Bank: “Our employees genuinely look forward to the Summer Business Food & Fund Drive not only to help our fellow Utahns, but to show other companies that fundraising can be fun and a great team-building activity,” said Wimmer. “At Fidelity, we’re passionate about making a difference in the communities where we live and work. We’re incredibly proud that our long-term relationship with Utah Food Bank has resulted in a real impact on alleviating hunger in Utah. We relish the continued opportunity to help through our sponsorship of Jackson Elementary’s Mobile School Pantry.”

Between the thousands of volunteer hours filled, hundreds of tons of food donated, and more than $1.3 million raised during the course of our remarkable partnership, Fidelity employees have made an immeasurable impact on the 1 in 5 Utah children who are unsure where their next meal is coming from. THANK YOU, FIDELITY!

 

Fidelity Investments Presents Utah Food Bank with $176,000


Utah Food Bank is eligible to earn a $25,000 grant from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Program, but we need your help to get it! Local State Farm Insurance Agent Curtis Hansen nominated Utah Food Bank’s Mobile School Pantry program for this crowd-sourced philanthropic program, and it was selected from a group of 2,000 submissions for the final voting process. Now it’s your turn to cast your votes for the winners, and Utah Food Bank is the only eligible Utah-based organization!

Online voting begins August 16, and anyone with a valid email address can vote up to 10 times per day until August 25. To make the voting process even easier, all 10 votes can even be cast at once! Access to Utah Food Bank’s online profile can be found HERE. The 40 organizations earning the highest number of votes by midnight on August 25 will each win the $25,000 grant. “Neighborhood Assist is another example of State Farm successfully turning caring into doing in communities all across the U.S.” said Kellie Clapper, State Farm Assistant Vice President. “The communities themselves play an important role in inspiring people to rally and vote for these important causes.”

Should Utah Food Bank be chosen, this funding will enable them to offer their Mobile School Pantry program at an additional five schools for the entire 2018-2019 school year. The Mobile School Pantry program provides free food, directly at the playground, of selected local schools on a monthly basis for the duration of the school year. This important effort approaches childhood hunger with the understanding that children are only truly protected from the pain and anxiety of hunger when their entire family has enough food to stay healthy, making it an especially effective and holistic approach to childhood hunger. This program impacted over 234,000 people last school year alone, 130,000 of whom were children.

VOTE TODAY!


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 people 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 12,000 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 about how you can volunteer for this program, please click here.

Kids Volunteering to Deliver Food Boxes


We see a lot of kids who spend all day at the library, every day, because they don’t have safe places to go and their parents aren’t home (in addition to other circumstances in many cases). The library is always a safe place, but the problem becomes when they are here from immediately after school until we close at 9:00 p.m. because before this program started, they weren’t getting anything to eat in all those hours. It really affects the library in a lot of ways because when kids are hungry, they act out.

We serve this meal 5 days a week, and it varies from 30 to 60 kids each day. Occasionally we even have families come in and ask if they can take some home because they don’t have food for dinner that night, or they might not have anything to pack for their kids for lunch the next day.

 

Providing this program has been the single most important thing we’ve done at the library. Feeding kids has made an incredible difference in their behavior and the amount of homework they’re getting done, and in creating a community space where people can come in and feel safe and comfortable.

Magna Library Youth Services Librarian


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