When the new Cache Valley Food Pantry is completed, it will store a lot of food. Actually, it will store more than twice the amount of food the old Cache Valley Food Pantry could. Director Matt Whitaker says the extra space is desperately needed.
"The facility we had was just too small. It didn't meet the needs of the clientele or the donors. And we couldn't properly store anything in the right place. We couldn't see what we had. We had no shelving whatsoever."
According to the Cache Valley Food Pantry’s website, the number of individuals served doubled from 2008 to 2010. The food pantry has also incurred a “tremendous” increase in food donations.
"I get people calling all the time, saying, 'What do you need the most of?' And before that was kind of a tough question because, well, I don't really know what I've got back there because I can't see it. But now I can give an immediate answer: 'Oh, I need more flour or I need more sugar or cereal,' whatever it may be."
The new facility is being built on the site of the old facility, meaning storage and offices have been moved to makeshift warehouses and trailers.
"We're hoping this is done by October because those buildings out there aren't heated. They're great now—in the summertime, it's no problem. But if we go into this and it's December, January—even in November it starts to get cold—we're going to have to find a way to keep warm out there."
According to Whitaker, while the food pantry is still short on the necessary funds for construction, many groups and individuals stepped up in a big way to gather donations to fund the new building.
"The young single adult stake with the LDS Church called us, and they wanted to raise some money for us. And they raised well over $300,000 for us. We were making progress, but it was very slow. But they got involved, and wow, it just took off."
For Whitaker, overseeing the construction of the new building has been both exciting and nerve-racking.
"I joke with my wife, 'Boy, if we don't get any money coming in, I'm going to become a client instead of the director.' I don't want to do that! I've got a lot of confidence [the building's completion] is going to happen. You can't help but still worry, though."
Whitaker hopes the building will be finished by mid-to-late October.