SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — As the year approaches its halfway mark to Halloween, a widely recognized holiday attraction is taking a surprising turn of events and donating to Utah’s food insecurity problem.
Fear Factory, a local haunted attraction that has received national accolades, is using its reputation and funds to improve the case of food insecurity for children in Utah, according to a press release.
The company paid off outstanding lunch balances for children at Mountain View and Parkview Elementary schools on the west side of Salt Lake City. Both schools are Title 1 schools, meaning the schools receive financial assistance due to high numbers of students from low-income families.
“It breaks my heart when I hear my grandchildren talk about kids in their classes that can’t eat school lunch because they have run up outstanding balances,” Fear Factor CEO Bob Dunfield said. “Hearing these stories led us to find ways to help combat this problem and as we looked into ways to help this year, we realized the need is greater than ever and we wanted to do something that would make a bigger impact on the community.”
In Utah, one in 10 children faces hunger — amounting to over 93,000 children in the state, according to a report by Feeding America. The Utah Food Bank estimates the number to be one in nine. Due to the pandemic in recent years and current inflation, food insecurity remains high in the state.
While the Halloween company gave a scary good donation, the press release said it recognizes there is more to do to fight the “fear of food insecurity.”
“It takes more than one donation like this to make a significant impact on hunger in our state and we challenge other businesses to find ways to contribute and join the fight against food insecurity in Utah,” Dunfield said.
In a statewide Feed Utah event hosted in March, Utah Food Bank President Ginette Bott said food insecurity is something Utahns should address year-round and not just around the holidays.
“One group can’t do it all, it takes all of us and we need to work diligently throughout the year, not just today,” Bott said.