(St. George, UT) - The Utah Food Bank dedicated its Southern Utah Branch building Wednesday at 4416 South River Road in St. George.
Linda Trujillo, Utah Food Bank’s Southern branch manager said, “The communities in Southern Utah bring so much value to our state’s culture, economy and spirit of giving. As a statewide organization, Utah Food Bank is proud to work hand-in-hand with our partner agencies in the seven southern Utah counties to help further strengthen their efforts to fight hunger," she said.
Although the official dedication of the building occurred Wednesday, the Utah Food Bank started its efforts to establish a southern branch a year ago. The goal of the year-long effort has been to work with local communities and generate stronger relationships with partner agencies.
More than 4.5 million pounds of food and goods have been distributed to local pantries since January 2011 as a result. 1.8-million pounds of fresh product was donated by local grocers and then distributed to participating pantries through the Utah Food Bank’s Grocery Rescue program.
Trujillo said “Our partner agencies in Southern Utah have been doing a tremendous job in caring for those in need for years. Our purpose in opening a branch in Southern Utah is not to replace their incredible efforts, but to strengthen them."
Another deciding factor in establishing a branch location came after years of logistical challenges and being faced with rising transportation costs.
im Yorgason, Utah Food Bank’s chief operating officer said, “If we received an order of produce from Arizona, we would have to transport the load to Salt Lake City before we could distribute it. Now, if we need a portion of that load to go to Cedar City, we can account for it in St. George without the cost and expense of bringing the produce to Salt Lake City and sending back to Cedar City.”
The Wednesday dedication of the southern branch marks Utah Food Bank’s efforts to fight hunger statewide and facilitate the collection and distribution of food more efficiently to partner agencies in southern Utah.
About Hunger in Utah
•1 in 10 Utahns, and 1 in 8 Utah children, lives in poverty.
•An impoverished family of four makes about $22,000 a year to cover health care costs, shelter, food, and other household expenses.
•Utah is ranked fourth in the nation for the highest rate of very low food security in the nation. About 400,000 Utahns risk missing one meal every day.
•More than 134,000 Utahns receive food stamps, and 63,000 eat dinner at a soup kitchen.
•1 in 7 Utah children is at risk of hunger, and nearly 40 percent receive free or reduced school lunch.
About Utah Food Bank
Utah Food Bank provides food to a statewide network of 135 emergency food pantries and agencies. Last fiscal year, Utah Food Bank distributed 33.3-million pounds of food and goods (the equivalent of over 26-million meals for families and individuals in need). Utah Food Bank also served 222,837 Kids Cafe meals, delivered 31,044 food boxes and filled 19,884 kids’ backpacks for weekends and school holidays.
For more information, go to Utah Food Bank.