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Food bank demand still near pandemic high

May 13, 2022, 8:47 AM | Updated: 10:44 am
Gov. Gary Herbert and members of his staff sort food items at the Utah Food Bank's Salt Lake wareho...
Gov. Gary Herbert and members of his staff sort food items at the Utah Food Bank's Salt Lake warehouse on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Photo credit: Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — Demand at Utah’s food pantries across the state spiked in the early days of the pandemic, and it’s still higher than before COVID.

Ginette Bott, who heads up the Utah Food Bank, told the Deseret News inflation, high housing costs and high fuel prices are some of the reasons families are still struggling. She said demand is running at about twice the level it was before the pandemic.

The food bank itself is having challenges buying fuel for its trucks and finding enough help to keep supplies moving to the 200 or so food pantries it supplies around the state.

Families looking for baby formula aren’t having any more luck with the food bank than they are with grocery stores.

“Just because we’re a food bank doesn’t mean we can get the things the store doesn’t have,” Bott said.

The U.S. Postal Service has its annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive set for Saturday, May 14. Letter carriers will pick up non-perishable food items left near mailboxes by 9:00 a.m.

Related: Sen. Romney calls for swift action on baby formula shortage

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Food bank demand still near pandemic high