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May 4, 2020

Emergency Food Services Need Your Time and Donations

Anni McKinnon - Email

Salt Lake County, UT—Our community is seeing an increase in individuals and families relying on emergency foodservice organizations like food pantries and soup kitchens. Unfortunately, there is neither enough food nor volunteers to continue long-term operation of these resources without community help. 

This week, Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) and technology developers AQUEHS Corp. launched, where individuals can locate foodservice organizations nearest them. While originally intended as a resource for families in need, SLCoHD is now encouraging residents to also use the site to locate a nearby pantry to volunteer or donate money or food.

“We developed to help families in our own neighborhoods access healthy, nutritious foods,” said Anni McKinnon, SLCoHD healthy living program manager. “But when the pandemic began directly affecting our community, we found we already had a resource available for people looking for an easy, efficient way to help.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Utahns rushed to prepare food and supplies; but others who were unable to acquire these necessities are now facing an increased risk of hunger. SLCoHD encourages residents to donate or volunteer to foodservice organizations while following “Stay Smart, Stay Safe” public health order guidelines, such as wearing a cloth face covering and maintaining a minimum 6 feet of distance from those outside their household.

Foodservice organizations are taking measures for safe, no-contact food donations. Facilities that can implement social distancing are seeking volunteers, and financial donations are always accepted. Residents may also consider planting extra vegetables in their gardens to help stock food pantries and kitchens with fresh produce throughout the summer and fall.

“We’re dedicated to continuing to be here for the most vulnerable in our community, so we’ll keep our doors open as long as possible. We are facing increased demands with decreased resources,” said Jessica Roadman of Crossroads Urban Center. “Your generosity allows us to continue being there for those in need.”