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Utah Food Bank expects needs to stay high

Feb 5, 2021, 9:21 AM
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FILE: Vehicles snake around the parking lot of a chapel belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to pick up food from the Utah Food Bank in Taylorsville on Monday, April 13, 2020. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Food Bank and food pantries across the state have seen almost triple the amount of need since the pandemic began, and they expect needs to remain high for some time.

40% of that increase in need comes from first time users, according to food bank officials.  And it happened suddenly.

The Utah Food Bank distributed 2 million pounds of food in March and April of 2019. During those same months in 2020, it was up to 6 million pounds of food when the pandemic hit. 

Utah Food Bank: Needs increased suddenly

Utah Food Bank president and CEO Ginette Bott says for many people, it happened suddenly.

“And it has stayed at a very constant, very high number,” she said.

Bott’s comments will appear on A Woman’s View with Amanda Dickson, airing Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, on KSL NewsRadio. 

She says now they have to figure out how to sustain this care.

“We are in this ten months, and we have these huge numbers. How do we provide this kind of care, this kind of service? What do we do as a business for the next six, 12, 18 months?”

How you can help

Bott says they’ve always asked for three things – food, time, and money. Besides donations, they have partnerships with grocery stores, food distributors and other food banks.

“All of our volunteers were taken away very quickly. But the money that came to us and the food that has been coming to us, will help us sustain these high numbers. We know the next probably 12 months will be hard for Utah families, and we have to be ready,” she said.

Area residents in need of food assistance should contact the 2-1-1 information and referral service. More information is available here

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Utah Food Bank expects needs to stay high