After slow summer, food pantries look toward holidays for a boost

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Several organizations are gearing up to help those in need have a good holiday meal. Donations tend to increase this time of year, but after slow September and October, groups are hoping to see a rebound during the holiday season.

Glenn Bailey is the Executive Director of Crossroads Urban Center. They’re teaming up with Harmons Grocery for the 20th year to donate turkeys and side dishes for those in need. Anywhere from 3,000 – 3,700 families are served.

Even with Utah’s economic boom, Bailey said there are still several people struggling, who have to reach out for help.

“Even though unemployment is low, wages are low, and rents are very, very high,” said Bailey. “So people are just having a hard time stretching what they have to get through the month and I think that’s what we’re seeing now.”

Kurt Karren is one of the thousands who have turned to the center to receive a turkey in the past. He notes how important it can brighten the holidays.

“It’s a beautiful thing they help families out, and that we can always have our Thanksgiving dinners,” said Karren.

He said he likely won’t need to receive a turkey this year, but notes at times his family does struggle with other inessentials. He was at the center to get help with diapers for his baby.

The Utah Food Bank said they are gearing up for the normal uptick in donations for this time of year. It’s especially needed after several non-profits noticed a dip in donations in September and October which was due to the effort focused on hurricane relief.

Ginette Bott is the Chief Development Officer for Utah Food Bank. She suggests anyone wanting to help donate food should consider what they normally buy.

“As you do the preparation for the holidays, buy double, donate that,” said Bott. “There are holiday bins nearly clear across the state you can take those extra groceries and you can donate them.”

Bott said the best things people can donate is their time, food, and money. While food donations are vital, they note money can often have a bigger impact. That’s because the food bank has buying power and can purchase perishable food items as well.

“We have contracts just like grocery stores do with major manufactures across the country,” said Bott. “So we can buy tuna totally differently that you can buy tuna. We stretch that $1 into $7.80 worth of goods and services.”

While holidays are a big time for donations, the food bank reminds people they have needs year round.

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