A growing numbers of Utahns are going without food — one of the many impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
There are several nonprofits in the state that are trying to address the need. Here are the places that welcome your help:
Local school districts
School districts have taken the lead in distributing food to families in need. Most have separate foundations that support philanthropic efforts. The Granite Education Foundation, for instance, helps run the pantries in Granite School District. In Salt Lake City School District, the Salt Lake Education Foundation provides bags of food for families to get through weekends. Many also accept contributions at their school pantries, donations of money online or welcome volunteers to help in person.
As one of the biggest distributors of food in the state to those in need, the Utah Food Bank asks those who can to give money, time or groceries. There’s a list of times and locations for volunteering on its website, as well as a spot to donate money and a list of where to drop off food.
The United Way of Salt Lake focuses on the capital city, which has seen the highest prevalence of virus cases. It also accepts online donations to help fund its efforts.
This nonprofit fights the root causes of hunger. It encourages people to “speak up” as a way to help. They have instructions on their website for writing to your state representatives to address the issues of food insecurity, as well as the larger issues that may contribute to it, such as rent payments and housing reform.
Crossroads Urban Center runs a downtown Salt Lake City emergency food pantry and one in Poplar Grove on the west side of the city. It focuses on assisting those with low incomes and those with disabilities to meet basic survival needs. It’s a multifaith organization, though it primarily works in conjunction with the national United Methodist Women office. It suggests Utahns can help those in need by thinking of them when they do their regular shopping; when you buy online, for instance, you can send extra supplies there. Instructions on how to do that can be found at its website. There’s also a list of pantries there where you can volunteer to box food.
This Utah program focuses specifically on kids experiencing hunger, and it is sponsored primarily by USANA, which also runs the amphitheater in West Valley City by the same name. Organizers there ask for individuals to sponsor schools or families to regularly provide food for, and to prepare bags to drop off. To sign up, go to their webpage.
For the Kids has helped feed students and their families from Rose Park since 2012 as a way to nourish them, but also to give them hope. It has a list of food items needed, including cereal and crackers, on its website.
Boys and Girls Clubs
These organizations are set up across the nation and within the state, including a chapter that covers Greater Salt Lake. They provide afterschool programs for youth, including distributing food to their families. The local group accepts donations on its website.
This is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The storehouse makes much of its own food and distributes it to those in need, largely members of the faith but also several school districts. It accepts donations mostly from members.
This organization is run by the Catholic diocese. It operates a dining hall for those experiencing homeless in downtown Salt Lake City, as well as offering resources for those in Ogden. It additionally helps refugees and migrants get settled in Utah. Catholic Community Services accepts money donations at its website. It also welcomes grocery dropoffs by appointment. And interested individuals can view a list of needed products on the organization’s Amazon wishlist.
This homeless shelter in downtown Salt Lake City also assists those who need food. It has a wishlist on Amazon, as well, where you can buy products and have them sent directly to the organization. You can volunteer there, too.