HEALTH

Staffing issues and lack of trucks lead to Utah Food Bank to cancel food drive

Mar 22, 2022, 6:14 PM | Updated: 9:40 pm
The Utah Food Bank Headquarters...
The Utah Food Bank headquarters in South Salt Lake. Photo credit: Paul Nelson.

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The labor shortage and supply chain problems impacting the country are forcing the Utah Food Bank to cancel what they were hoping would have been a successful food drive.  However, they say volunteer groups are coming up with creative ways to get their donations to people in need.

Last year, the Utah Food Bank’s Feed Utah food drive was a one-day event. During the event, UFB had trucks at donation drop-off sites all over the state.  The food was placed into the trucks and then taken to nearby pantries.  Officials say it was a successful drive which brought in a good variety of food.

Food drive cancellation

This year, organizers wanted to go even bigger.  Executive Director Ginette Bott says they planned to place trucks all across the state collection food donations over the entire month of March.  However, she says that plan just wasn’t logistically possible, this year.

She said, “Every news story we see, almost daily, there’s an issue with wages, drivers and fuel costs.”

Bott says there were so many staffing challenges, they had no choice but to cancel the food drive that UFB and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been planning.

“When we recognized we couldn’t get the use of for longer periods of time versus a one-day scenario, there are many, many places in Utah that would have been left out of that drive, completely,” Bott said.

However, Bott says there’s a proverbial silver lining to this bad situation.  The religious and community groups that were collecting donations are finding their own methods to bring food to nearby pantries.

“All sorts of groups that were involved last year made the decision to still go ahead and help this year.”

The UFB may have to go back to one-day format for the 2023 Feed Utah food drive.  However, she says local food kitchens and pantries are in relatively good shape, compared to the rest of the country.

“For these neighborhood groups to take their time to select a specific day that the neighborhood comes together and does this… those are the best resources, ever, and it’s the best way to help these smaller pantries,” Bott said.

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Staffing issues and lack of trucks lead to Utah Food Bank to cancel food drive