This feature is brought to you by the Utah Food Bank. And with me this morning is the CEO and president of the Food Bank, Ginette Bott, and the Public Relations Manager for Associated Foods, Sarah Pettit. Ginette, you are here today to talk about the Feed Utah Food Drive 2024. So tell us all about it.

Ginette: You know, it’s an exciting day when we figured that we can go out and fight hunger collaboratively with everyone in the state. And that’s exactly what this opportunity does.


On March 16th, which is a Saturday morning, we’re inviting folks across the state to join us with food distributions that will be utilized to fight hunger. And it will happen throughout neighborhoods, yours, mine, and across the state of Utah.

Maria: Sarah, describe for me how Associated Foods is involved in this food drive.

Sarah: So Macey’s and Lin’s Grocery Stores are proud to support Utah Food Bank during Feed Utah on March 16th.


Starting at 9 a.m., our stores will serve as drop-off locations, as well as many other food pantries across the state. So we’ll be collecting all of the food that will feed our local food pantries and Utah Food Bank.

Maria: Ginette, tell us about the situation right now with our residents and what kind of needs that you are seeing.

Ginette: You know, it’s really a frightening time and we had really hoped when…


COVID was over and kind of behind us, that things would take a different turn and numbers would come down, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened. And right now about 13% of our population is really struggling with issues around hunger. One in 10 of those are children. And now more recently than ever, we’re seeing new people coming into our area, into our state who have no resources. And so there’s an influx of folks that we haven’t had to handle before.

Maria: Sarah, describe why this is important to your company.


Sarah: Well, you know, food insecurity is real. And we talk about the one in 10 kids that don’t know where their next meal is coming from. And Lin’s and Macey’s stores are locally owned. And we care about the community that we serve. And I’m a mom. And I was just looking at my 10 year old daughter’s classroom just the other day. And there’s about 22 kids in that class. And Maria, when I looked at that and I realized that approximately two of those children didn’t know where their next meal was coming from and that they were food insecure…


That’s too many. So as your local grocer, we’re committed to help with food insecurity across our state.

Maria: Ginette, tell us about some of the most needed items. What’s gonna help you the most?

Ginette: Well, you know, we always have those few rules. We have to talk about non-perishable items. We can’t take anything that has to be refrigerated. We ask that you don’t, you know, give us anything that’s contained in a glass container. We just really can’t move that safely. Then we really want things that are high in protein. Tuna fish or canned chicken or beef stew,


beans. You know, if you have canned fruit or vegetables, it’s low in sodium or salt. Those are great items. But the key here really is like whatever your family enjoys, another family will too.

Maria: Tell us a little bit about your storehouse and the need for more food and the importance of events like this.

Ginette: Well, it’s an interesting scenario when we look at our state of Utah, the Utah Food Bank, through affiliation with feeding America, has been made responsible for the entire state of Utah.


So that means all 29 counties have different issues with hunger because of sizes, because of location and geography. But what needs to happen is we need to be prepared as we come into spring to have these small pantries, just as importantly as the large pantries across the Wasatch Front, be ready to help families. And this food drive is a great way to do it. It’s a combination of resources that come together from not only the Utah Food Bank, but our partnership with Associated Food Stores, JustServe, and the LDS Church.


The thing that’s great about the different components is the stores bring us locations. So JustServe and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brings volunteers and resources to us. So we’re able to come together with our strengths and work collaboratively. This next week, as we approach the event, you should be receiving a door hanger that will come to your front door. It’ll be distributed by folks in your neighborhood. It will invite you to put a bag of food on your doorstep Saturday morning before 9 a.m.


What that does is allows someone else, another volunteer, to come by, pick it up, take it to a designated drop-off site, and then all of those foods will be distributed throughout our state of Utah.

Maria: Right, makes it really easy for people to actually give food. For those folks who may not just have a lot of items on hand to donate, how can they donate financially?

Ginette: The door hanger that you have is a situation where you can scan that door hanger and you can make a donation online, or you can go to utahfoodbank.org.


Maria: Before I let you go, how many people did you help last year?

Ginette: You know, last year we provided 50 million meals throughout the state of Utah. We distributed 60 million pounds of food. And it’s ironic as we look at those numbers because to imagine that many meals is just kind of staggering. But the Utah Food Bank is celebrating 120 years this year. We’ve been doing this since 1904. We’re also celebrating a billion meals in Utah. So hunger’s not going away. And this is a great invitation for Feed Utah.


to extend to all of our folks in Utah to help us on that day.

Maria: Thank you both for being with me this morning. This feature is brought to you by the Utah Food Bank.