SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4)- Rudy’s Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, opened a food pantry at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City.

Gobert opened the pantry in partnership with Smith’s Food and the Salt Lake Education Foundation. 

The pantry will provide students and their families access to emergency food along with the ability to learn about other community resources. The food pantry is made possible by contributed funds from Smith’s Food & Drug Stores and Rudy’s Kids Foundation.

Rudy’s Kids was founded in 2017 by Gobert in an effort to “protect, promote and empower kids to rise above their life challenges towards their success.”

According to the press release, between 1,300 and 1,500 students and their families live with food insecurities. 

In Utah, 355,550 people are facing hunger – and of them 113,700 are children according to data gathered by Feeding America, a non-profit network of food banks across the United States. 

In 2019, almost 11% of people in Salt Lake County experienced food insecurity. The average cost of a meal was $3.11, according to Feeding America Map the Meal Gap study. The study projects that with the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity in Salt Lake County will rise to 12.9% in 2021.

The study also said overall food insecurity in the state is projected to go up from 11.1% in 2019 to 12.8% in 2021 due to the pandemic.