SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A Salt Lake woman and her husband are living a dream. Together, they built a church, and the only food pantry in South Salt Lake. But, while food provided by the Utah Food Bank is being given to those in need, the pantry has some needs too.
The mission of the C.O.P Community Food Pantry is to feed the hungry in South Salt Lake. The passion for helping comes from empathy, knowing what hunger feels like. Director, and Pastor, Tee Evans was homeless once, and took refuge in a church. "I was cold and I hadn't eaten in three days, and he walked into the church and said Tee how long has it been? He had a bowl of chili and he gave it to me. So, I understand what it's like."
That understanding, and a desire to give back, motivates Tee and Tracy Evans. They have other jobs, and pour much of their money into this mission. They remodeled an old store, the church portion is now complete thanks to donated pews from the LDS Church, donated flooring and lighting fixtures from area businesses, and volunteers who worked hard to put it all together.
The food pantry, which takes up about half of the building, still needs some finishing touches. Tracy Evans says despite walls of bare sheetrock, a ceiling of open insulation, concrete floors, and an unfinished handicap accessible bathroom and ramp, they are still feeding the hungry. They distributed eighty-nine turkeys at Thanksgiving, and the shelves are nearly empty before each weekly delivery from the Utah Food Bank. Evans says they strive to provide more than just food to those who come through their door. “Our hope is to not just give a hand out, but a hand up.”
But the Evans could use a hand right now. They are looking for volunteers to help with the remainder of construction projects, donations of supplies, or funding. Pastor Evans says "We need the community to come together and finish this so it's a safe place for people to come and get their food."
Meanwhile, they are grateful for all that has already been donated, and for the opportunity to help those, who like Pastor Evans, know the pains of hunger all too well. “When they come through our door, I want the people to get a hug and feel like it’s not just about the food, but you can come here any time. It’s a place of refuge.”
Too help the C.O.P. Community Food Pantry call 801-208-9859, or call 211 and search by the 84115 zip code. You can also drop off donations at the pantry located at 2358 South Main Street, South Salt Lake City.