UTAH

Crossroads Urban Center reports “unprecedented” need for food

Apr 24, 2024, 6:00 AM

a man moves boxes at the crossroads urban center...

FILE: Josue Peres moves boxes of food at the Crossroads Urban Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (Ben B. Braun/Deseret News)

(Ben B. Braun/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — One of Utah’s non-profits reports what they call an unprecedented amount of people approaching them for help with emergency food.

The Crossroads Urban Center said they provided food to almost 10,000 people in March. That’s 3,700 more people than the center served in March of 2023.

What’s behind the increase? Crossroads Executive Director Glenn Bailey said there are, likely, many reasons for the increase. But there’s one that stands out.

 

“The rent’s too high,” he told Utah’s Noon News. “People are paying the majority of what they’re able to make each month for rent, utilities, just the bills they can’t avoid.”

According to a report by the Kem C. Gardener Policy Institute at the University of Utah, “the average rental rate in Wasatch Front counties has increased by 6.5% to 7%, annually, since 2011.”

As of September 2023, the average rental rate in Salt Lake County was $1,570.

Where the food comes from

The Center relies on donations from Utahns to provide food for those who need it, including the Letter Carriers Food Drive on May 11.

The Center also benefits from the Utah Food Bank’s grocery rescue program. This connects the Utah Food Bank to food retailers, who donate food that is nearing its expiration date –but still safe and healthy to eat.

“So we just patch everything together as best we can, and give away as much food as we have,” Bailey said.

Bailey said that the majority of their visitors are families, and people experiencing homelessness.

What happens next?

The Crossroads Urban Center is counting on the need leveling off. But, as school lets out for the summer, a new need arises. 

“We’ll still be at a very high level of need.  But we won’t be seeing increases every single month like we have for the last year and a half,” Bailey said.

The Crossroads Urban Center is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They accept food donations from the public.

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Crossroads Urban Center reports “unprecedented” need for food