AARP Utah is a strong supporter of the Utah Food Bank (UFB), with several volunteers who deliver food boxes on a regular basis and a monthly staff service project. So when we donated $8000 to the UFB, our Advocacy Director, Danny Harris, had the idea to challenge our Utah members to match it. We sent letters to each member in the state while the UFB promoted the match challenge on their website, online ads, and through social media. We thought that bringing in an extra $20,000 would exceed any reasonable expectations, so were thrilled that AARP Utah members contributed over $38,000 in checks and online donations. Because the UFB can translate each dollar donated into eight dollars of goods and services, AARP Utah’s total contribution has a value of $373,448! Both the UFB and we were amazed by the enormous generosity of our members in Utah.
So what does this mean for hunger in Utah? One in six Utahns are unsure of where their next meal will come from. About 472,000 Utahns risk missing one meal every day.
This donation will help the UFB gather and distribute emergency food to individuals and families threatened by hunger in Utah. They are the central hub for food collection and distribution in the state.
Donations are crucial, as only 8% of UFB’s food items come from community food drives, though these drives do bring in more than three million pounds of food each year.
Building partnerships with local grocers has also allowed them to receive needed food items that are nearing expiration dates. Last year, the Grocery Rescue program collected nearly 7.8 million pounds of food through 137 stores and 18 participating agencies.
During Fiscal Year 2012, Utah Food Bank distributed 28,644,294 meals through a variety of methods:
- Emergency Food Network: Food is sorted in the UFB warehouse and then distributed throughout the state to more than 129 emergency food pantries, agencies, churches, senior centers and after-school programs.
- UFB Food Box Program: Through the Food Box Program, volunteers deliver monthly supplemental food to low-income, homebound senior citizens who are unable to access the emergency food network.
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): CSFP gives thousands of low-income Utahns access to healthy food. As part of the program, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ships items directly to UFB, including canned fruits, canned vegetables, cold cereals and bottled juice.
- Kids Cafe: The Kids Cafe program provides free meals and snacks at after-school programs. Sites include Boys & Girls Clubs, public schools, and community centers. Each weekday, Utah Food Bank's in-house chef prepares up to 1,700 meals for children who might not eat until the following morning.
- Mobile Pantry: The Mobile Food Pantry program distributes food such as fresh produce, dairy products, deli products, and non-perishables to low-income neighborhoods throughout the state of Utah.
AARP Utah thanks our wonderful members for making a huge difference to help reduce hunger in Utah. To contribute, go to Utah Food Bank online.
[Photo courtesy of Snowbird Photo Album/Flickr]