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South Valley Journal

Local food pantry aims to bridge hunger gap

Aug 23, 2018 06:34PM ● By Jana Klopsch

A group of volunteers at the St. Andrew’s Food Pantry on packaging days (St. Andrew’s Food Pantry/Shanette Apgood)

By Brett Jay Apgood | [email protected]

According to Feeding America, a U.S. hunger relief nonprofit, 41 million people in the United States struggle with going hungry. Of those 41 million people, a quarter are children. The decision to form St. Andrew’s Food Pantry was a no brainer.

“Anyone that needs food is welcome to come and get it,” said Mary Jane Smith, who serves as co-chairwoman for the food pantry.

The food pantry serves Riverton, Draper, South Jordan, Bluffdale, Herriman and West Jordan. Pantry officials do ask to see an ID, but even if they are not from the area, they will not turn anyone away.

“If for someone reason they are outside the area, we will give them food this time, and will refer them to a closer pantry,” said Smith.

The Panty is a nonprofit organization and are partnered with the Utah Food Bank, which is where most of the food donations come from.

“We have no one that receives a salary,” Smith said. “We rely on donations completely.”

The idea to form the food pantry originated with a joint effort by St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and Christ the King Lutheran Church, who at the time were both meeting at the Megaplex in South Jordan.

“We decided that between the two of us that we could start collecting food,” Smith said. “We took some food to the food bank when it was up in Salt Lake City. As it progressed, we realized that there was a need for a distribution area here in South Valley.”

They then decided to officially form the St. Andrew’s Food Pantry and operate out of the basement of the church.

Smith also hopes to receive support from the community. She and her colleagues at the Pantry accept money, food or someone’s time.

The pantry takes canned goods, non-perishable food items, fresh produce from a resident’s gardens or any types of food people use.

“You name it, we need it,,” Smith said. “Whatever we get we give out.”

You can volunteer at the Pantry Wednesday’s starting at 7:30 a.m. to help unload the trucks, stock and package the groceries. There are also volunteer hours on Thursday’s starting at 4 p.m. to help with sorting and distributing.

 “We like to have young people like Scouts or any youth organizations because they can help carry the groceries out to our client’s cars,” said Smith.

The pantry has been running for about 12 years and currently serves around 120 families a week. It’s expanded its services throughout the valley. In 2011, it distributed 65 tons of food and estimated that it served more than 2,500 households. In 2016 the numbers grew to 78 tons and more than 5,500 households served.

The biggest thing Smith wants people to know is that anyone is welcome to use the pantry, and she can always use volunteers.

Anyone interested in helping can call the food pantry’s directory at 801-871-5080 or email [email protected]

St. Andrew’s Food Pantry is located at 11835 South 3600 West in Riverton.