The second Farmers Feeding Utah “miracle project” happened in Northern Utah on Tuesday. Food pantries in Cache, Box Elder, and Rich Counties all benefited from the project.
“We saw an increase of people and a decrease in the food which tends to make us a little anxious when you have that situation. So, you know, we were very grateful when we heard from Farmers Feeding Utah and they said, ‘Hey, we want to bring you a lot of food’. So that was a very welcomed phone call to receive to, you know, relieve some of the stress that we face,” explained Matthew Whitaker, the director of the Cache Food Pantry.
The Cache Food Pantry is one of the organizations that benefited from donations provided by the Farmers Feeding Utah program earier this week. In May, this program was launched by the Utah Farm Bureau to help both farmers and other individuals in need throughout Utah.
On Tuesday, the Cache Food Pantry received more food than could be held in the main facility. Some of the food is being held in cold storage for future use.
Farmers Feeding Utah identifies where they should focus each of their projects with help from Utah State University’s Hunger Solutions Institute. Heidi LeBlanc, the director of the institute, says the Northern Utah project was identified prior to the recent spike of coronavirus cases in the area.
“We identified up here mostly because we were just going through a pantry list and I happen to call Matt and he was like, 'yeah, we're down 100,000 pounds'. Part of the reason why is because two of the major food drives that he was supposed to be able to do were cancelled due to COVID and other reasons. But the Tremonton pantry, we also reached out to them, and because of COVID, it really hit them hard. They were gonna close their pantry doors," she said.
Since the beginning of the program, Farmers Feeding Utah has been able to raise $300,000 to help feed the community.