SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – With the increased demand for food amid the coronavirus outbreak, Utahns Against Hunger have found that many Utah found pantries are in need.

Utahns Against Hunger conducted a survey throughout the state in which they found that while many pantries are meeting their current needs, there is a concern for long-term sustainability.

“The level of increased demand itself would be stressful on pantries. However, when you add reorganizing food distribution models, mitigating the potential of the transmission of COVID 19 during the processing and preparing of food donations, and losing a large percentage of volunteer capacity, there is serious concern about the how emergency food pantries are faring,” says Gina Cornia, Executive Director of Utahns Against Hunger. “Every day, these small organizations are on the front lines distributing food to families and individuals, in most cases without adequate resources like, personal protective equipment. Pantries are meeting the need right now, but if they are going to continue to provide this level of relief, they’re going to need help. Help from the community and every level of government.”

Pantries are following the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines which has resulted in eight food pantries in Salt Lake County temporarily closing due to safety concerns and resulting in other food pantries reducing or eliminating their volunteers. This leaves many pantries solely relying on staff to process and distribute food.

59 percent of Utah food pantries reported ‘non-food’ needs such as funding for maintaining operations, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies and providing additional services like SNAP/WIC enrollment.

“Pantries need funding to continue to operate, especially with such increased demand for services. We expect a lot from these organizations. As a community, as a state, we should do more to support their work,” said Cornia.

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