Time is of the essence for North Ogden food pantry, Tri-City Exchange

Jul 22, 2022, 5:00 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 10:23 am
Tri City Exchange...
People wait in line at the Tri-City Exchange in North Ogden. (Tri-City Exchange Facebook)
(Tri-City Exchange Facebook)

NORTH OGDEN, Utah — The founder of Tri-City Exchange says he doesn’t know how much time he has, but he knows it’s not much. He’s under the gun to raise a significant amount of money, $600,000, in order to purchase the property currently occupied by the business and fold it into a 501(c)3 (non-profit) organization.

Mike Larson says he and his business partner had to part ways, and that’s partially what has him in a bind. The other problem is that someone else has an eye on the property.

He’s in the midst of switching the operation from being privately held to one that operates under the guidelines of a non-profit. But he’s not quite there yet. The biggest hurdle is finding funding to purchase the property.

That involves grant writing, an arduous process with a steep learning curve. While Larson has written grants for other types of businesses, he said writing one for Tri-City has proven difficult.

The fact that the property at 2067 North Washington Blvd. in Ogden is privately owned is seen as a deterrent for potential donors.

And again, time is of the essence for Mike and for the hundreds of people that he says rely on Tri-City for food each day. 

So Mike has turned to a modern fundraising tool to help.

He’s started a GoFundMe*. He says that if he can find 80 thousand people to donate what is the equivalent cost of a Happy Meal, he’ll be able to move forward. Once he’s garnered the $600,000, he can place the property within the 501(c)3, essentially making it an asset of the non-profit.

The work done at Tri-City Exchange

Tri-City Exchange started up in 2020 near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, Larson said he’s handled 65 million pounds of food. He has a couple of principles that drive the business. “What’s mine is yours,” is one of them. 

“No wasted food,” is another. He said that some of the food they collect goes elsewhere, to other non-profits.

Larson sees the Tri-City Exchange as more than a food pantry. He’s partnered with Utah State University and Weber State University to offer cooking classes to people who rely on Tri-City for food. They also provide hygiene classes, he said, along with resume writing.

The shop itself is set up like a grocery store, with aisles and carts. He said people don’t leave with food in a box but, rather, in grocery bags. Food that they’ve picked out for themselves.

What’s next for Tri-City Exchange?

Larson hopes that more people will be made aware of and visit the GoFundMe account.

“It’s going to take something out of my control,” he said, something larger than himself to make this happen.

*KSL NewsRadio does not assure that the money deposited to the account directly benefits the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk

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Time is of the essence for North Ogden food pantry, Tri-City Exchange