More people are visiting the Utah Food Bank due to COVID and inflation
The Utah Food Bank is seeing a large number of individuals in need of their services because of COVID-19 and rising inflation rates.
Many families across the state of Utah are being met with severe financial hardship due to the pandemic and surging inflation. Representatives at the Utah Food Bank are witnessing first-hand that donations and volunteers are needed more than ever as individuals are flocking to their organization for much-needed assistance.
Ginette Bott, President and Chief Executive Officer of Utah Food Bank, said she and her team expected for numbers of individuals-in-need to lower this year as the pandemic began to calm over-time. They are now faced with shockingly high numbers as more families are experiencing financial hardship.
“During the year of the Pandemic we did 70 million pounds of food," Bott said. "This year we did 68.5 million pounds of food. … So, very small difference. We were hoping for a drastic change, and it just hasn’t happened.”
Bott said the situation of needing more food, donations and volunteers becomes even more critical while the food bank is experiencing their busiest season of the year: summer.
With children out of school, some parents are not sure how to provide meals for their kids as they typically depend on free breakfast and lunch provided by school to help feed their children.
“What has always been a challenge for us during the summer has become even more predominant," Bott said. "August is crucial for people who are donors to utilize their opportunity for Utah Food Bank, or any pantry in their neighborhood, to give food time or money. This is the most important time of the year for that.”
Bott said many people may not know this is a severe statewide issue, with families not only affected along the Wasatch front, but in southern Utah and rural parts of the state as well.
“So many people around us could be challenged by lack of food and we don’t know that," Bott said. "I would encourage you to be vigilant of those around you, because it could be your family, or your friends, or your neighbors. Look at them, make sure that everything seems to be intact for that family.”