As Pantry Manager and COO Tom Hogan walked the lines at our Community Action Services Provo Pantry, the growing need for food was painfully obvious. While inflation rates are beginning to level off, food prices are not. A dollar today no longer stretches to buy the same amount of food that a dollar could buy even last year. This has put a strain on food supplies at Community Action Services and Food Bank (CASFB) food pantries in Utah, Summit and Wasatch counties.
On average, CASFB pantries serve 12,000 guests per month. That equates to about 400,000 pounds of food. During the holiday season, this number can increase, with additional families needing assistance.
To help feed our friends and neighbors in the community who are facing food insecurity, CASFB is calling for a month’s worth of food (400,000 pounds) to help fill the shelves.
We know 400,000 pounds of food is a lot, but it’s doable when we break it down and look at what a pound of food looks like. If your food product is measured in ounces, you know exactly how much the contents weigh. Sixteen ounces equals 1 pound. If your food product is measured in fluid ounces, it tells you the volume of the contents. Weight will vary depending on the density of the item. Anything denser than water will weigh more than its volume.
Two 14.5-ounce cans of vegetables, for example, weigh more than 1 pound of food. A bag of flour can be 5 pounds or more. Three cans of macaroni and cheese or four cans of tuna are also more than 1 pound. So if just 15,000 people donate 25 boxes of food, we will reach our goal. The more people who get involved, the more people we can serve!
How you can help
Even the smallest donation can make a big difference in helping feed members of our community. Whether you’re making a one-time donation or organizing a recurring donation, we invite you to consider donating to help local families in need.
Another way you can help is to invite family and friends to drop off food donations at our Provo location (815 S. Freedom Blvd.). We are open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
This makes a fantastic family or small party activity. Here are some fun ideas:
- Host a donation drive where guests bring their food items as well as ingredients to donate.
- Ask baby shower guests to bring their guesses about the baby’s weight in canned food.
- Challenge the party guests to bring the same number of boxes as their shoe size.
- Invite your group to a lunch date at a grocery store. Each person shops for food donations in an amount equivalent to what they would spend on lunch.
- Host a “Donate My Age” birthday party where guests bring food donations with the goal of donating a combined amount or weight per item equal to your age.
Host a food drive
If one person can change the life of a community member, imagine what an entire community can do. This holiday season is the perfect time to host a food drive, and we can help.
On our website we offer some tips on how you can design and organize a successful food drive. We invite local schools, community organizations, church groups, scout troops and clubs to consider hosting a food drive as part of their holiday celebrations this year.
Successful foraging starts with a plan. We encourage you to make your donor engagement fun. Here are some ways to encourage donations to your food drives:
- Offer free or reduced admission to an event with a canned food donation.
- Start a friendly competition between departments at work to see which department can donate the most food.
- Host a giveaway where donated food items are entered into a raffle for a prize.
- Challenge employees, patrons and visitors to fill a vehicle trunk or truck bed with donated food.
- Host a virtual food drive and invite your friends to buy items from our Amazon wishlist.
What types of food can Community Action receive? Canned or packaged products with a longer shelf life work best. You can find our list of essential items on our site and we always need the following:
- Canned meat (chicken, beef, tuna)
- Canned soups
- Canned meals
- Canned fruit
- Packaged Meals (Macaroni and Cheese, Hamburger Helper, etc.)
We also often need items such as granola bars, spices, baked goods and other items. If you have it in your closet, we probably need it in ours.
To organize a food drive, contact Dan Hansen at [email protected] or call 801-691-5202. We can provide you with food bins, suggest ways to advertise and market your food drive, and coordinate the delivery of your donations.
Last year, Nu Skin, in coordination with CASFB, invited employees to donate their time and resources to feed more than 1,200 households with holiday food bags. In just hours, employees filled hundreds of bags with holiday turkey, stuffing, preserves and handwritten notes. Many employees happily visited the assembly line several times, helping the work go even faster. This type of organizational giving and service helps employees feel engaged and serves the community in a truly meaningful way. They are planning a similar event for employees this year.
Not sure how you want to get involved? We can help suggest ways in which your organisation, school group or club can design and run a food drive that everyone will want to join. Contact us today.
Help us reach our goal
Many hands make light work and we need your helping hands to fill the pantry shelves. We invite each of you to be part of the solution and help put food on the table for hungry families in our community. With your help, we can reach our goal of 400,000 pounds of food collected in November and December.
To find out more about Community Action and its initiatives, visit our website. We offer a full range of activities to help those facing food and income challenges. From financial literacy courses to food assistance and cooking healthy meals, we offer many ways for those looking to change their lives to get help.
Your support helps us continue to reach more people and families in our community. We couldn’t do what we do without your help. We appreciate your commitment to helping others become more self-reliant and overcome the challenges of poverty.