Increased need during the government shutdown in October led many Utah food banks to voice concerns over reduced food supplies for the upcoming holiday season. Jeanette Bott from the Utah Food Bank said Utahns have reached out with donations, keeping pantries across the state stocked.
Bott said the portion of donations made online has grown this year, while typical food donations are down statewide.
The pantry said donations of high protein foods like tuna and beef stew are always needed, as well as kid-friendly products like mac and cheese.
“If you are shopping for your family, most likely the items you buy for your family are exactly what another family would need as well,” Bott said.
During the government shutdown families who relied on programs like WIC found themselves looking for baby food and diapers at food pantries. Bott said demand has continued into the holiday season.
“We’ve also been encouraging people to try and buy boxes of baby cereal. We’re finding that there’s a little bit of a demand and perhaps a little bit of concern with some of the government programs that have been helping new mothers,” Bott said.
Cereal is preferred to jars of baby food, which is difficult to transport.
Bott reminds listeners that hunger has no season. She said the food donated now helps bolster stock for the summer months, when the need for donations isn’t as visible as during the holidays.