Utah Food Bank holds massive food giveaway for needy families
Apr 24, 2020, 7:09 PM
(Volunteers packing food into cars lining up near the Maverik Center. Credit: Paul Nelson, KSL Newsradio Facebook page)
WEST VALLEY CITY – Thousands of people rush to the Maverik Center in West Valley, but not for any concert. The Utah Food Bank was giving away fruits, vegetables, frozen food and other items for people hurting from the economic downturn from COVID-19.
By 11 a.m., one large section of the parking lot of the Maverik Center was filled with cars with their trunks open, waiting their turn to have volunteers place food inside as the cars go past.
Plus, there were lines of cars going past the parking lot, all the way down Decker Lake Drive in both directions and even reaching to the I-215 overpass on 3500 South.
One woman tells KSL she arrived an hour early, and there was already a long line of cars in front of her.
“There were way more than I expected,” she says.
Some of the people in line, like Gisselle Jimenez, say the shutdown of businesses and retails stores all over the state have been extremely tough on their families.
Jimenez says, “Right now, my mom is working but she has less hours and my dad has less hours. So, we need food.”
Officials with the Utah Food bank say the longer the shutdown lasts, the worse it becomes.
“We’re actually seeing 2.5 to three times the need in April than we did in March,” according to Utah Food Bank President Ginette Bott. “Many of these people coming through, a few weeks ago, were gainfully employed. They’ve never had to ask for product before. This is the first time, for them, and it’s a difficult thing for them to do.”
The UFB does drive-through food giveaways like this all over the state, but this is the largest they’ve ever done. Bott says they expected to serve roughly 2,000 families with this one, but they likely had much more than that. She says it’s hard to know how many people will show up to these events since they don’t really advertise them apart from making flyers. Most of the people who come hear about them through word-of-mouth.
She says, “The word spreads very quickly. We find that in all of the communities we go into. We have no way of knowing who has gone on Facebook with the flyer, who has seen the flyer or who has created a flyer. So, for us, it’s kind of a gamble.”
Bott says they get a lot of their items through food drives and commercial donations. They supply food for nearly 200 pantries across the state. After a giveaway this large, Bott says they’ll definitely need more help from the public to fill their shelves.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Resources for more information:
State of Utah: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707