SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Various communities partnered up together to share love and to bring food to those less fortunate, Saturday.

On March 20, individuals from across the state and members of religious communities, Associated Food Stores, the National Guard, KSL, the Boys and Girls Club, and many others spent the evening together to collect and deliver bags and boxes of food to help the Utah Food Bank support thousands of families in the state’s first “Feed Utah” food drive.

According to the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints, many religious communities with food pantries were able to co-sponsor the food drive and share their resources.

Images courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints

Religious communities involved include the Catholic Community Services, Holy Trinity Church, Prophet Elias Church, and Fish-n-Loaves Food Pantry.

Ginette Bott, the CEO of Utah Food Bank shares that Utah is home to 3.1 million, and out of that, 500,000 tend to struggle with food insecurity, COVID-19 then expanding this by 160,000.

“The needs have increased dramatically,” she states. “[COVID] has changed many things in the families’ lives that we serve.”

The event was met with multiple figureheads such as Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Latter-day Saint leaders including Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, and Elder Evan A. Schmutz of the Utah Area Presidency.

“Now more than ever, this is an opportunity for Utahns to step up and just show once again, that we really do care about each other, that we care about our neighbors,” states Governor Cox. “You can help Utah Food Bank’s goal of eliminating hunger statewide by participating.”

According to the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints, it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of Utahns are members of the church.

“Because they are part of the majority, President Cordon states it is important for young Latter-day Saints to invite those outside the faith to take part to increase the feeling of community in the state,” informs the church officials.

“We want to invite the youth to invite all their friends … to participate in this opportunity to serve,” urges President Cordon.

According to the church, “thousands of Latter-day Saint Primary-age children, their parents and leaders placed hundreds of thousands of Feed Utah food drive door flyers on the front doors of homes throughout the state,” days leading up to the food drive.

Each Utah Food Bank door hanger asked residents to place a bag of nonperishable food outside their front doors by 9 a.m. Saturday for volunteers to pick up.

“The community embraces the law of reciprocity, you know, you give, and you receive,” shares Reverend Dr. Oscar T. Moses, of the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He adds: “We live in, in some very unprecedented times, and it calls for us as brothers and sisters in the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity to come together and compile our efforts, whatever they may be. If we can have a holistic approach towards helping the least, the left out, the marginalized people, I think God will be glorified.”

Other faith-based and community entities that also participated in the Feed Utah food drive include Salt Lake City’s Calvary Baptist Church, Centro Cristiano Monte de Sion Church, and the Ogden Rescue Mission plus many more.