Food insecurity is often impossible to identify from the outside. It can look like a family with three kids who have a house and two cars. But from the inside, one parent got laid off due to COVID-19, and now they’re having trouble making ends meet on just one income. It can look like the senior couple on a fixed income who never had trouble paying bills, but now unexpected medical expenses have stretched their budget beyond their ability to keep up. Hunger can look like your neighbor, your friend, your family. Hunger can look like you.
Our new statistics are in, and the figures are startling. There are now over 511,000 Utahns facing food insecurity, including 1 in 5 children. Chances are you know someone unsure how they’re going to feed their family and pay their necessary bills. For many Utahns, this pandemic has been catastrophic.
Many of us have heard stories of the Great Depression and how difficult it was. The economic recession we are currently in due to the pandemic is just as bad, and the fall out will be long-lasting and incredibly challenging. Many are seeking food assistance that never needed it before and never expected to need help. It can be a scary process and produce feelings of humiliation and failure in those who are already struggling. There is no reason to feel ashamed for needing food assistance. We all need help sometimes, and that’s what Utah Food Bank is here to provide. We aim to do so in a way that helps people maintain a sense of dignity and worth.
Our mission is Fighting Hunger Statewide, and we strive to reach as many Utahns as possible, with 203 partner agencies, 40 mobile pantry sites, 85 mobile school pantry sites, and 106 active Kids Cafe programs. We have ramped up our distribution through these channels to meet the rising need and distributed 44.1 million meals in the past year. That’s 52.9 million pounds!
An example of some of our work since the pandemic turned everything upside down.
We are proud to announce that your monetary donations now stretch even further, with every dollar now equating to $8.03 worth of goods and services, and 96 cents of every dollar given still goes directly towards feeding people in need. We’ve been working with a dramatic decrease in volunteers and an increase in safety protocols, but our dedicated staff has come through in astonishing ways. Along with the profound outpouring of help from our community, they have enabled us to continue meeting the increased need of our neighbors, friends, and family. With your continued support, we are confident we will continue to meet that need.