Utahns Against Hunger visits Sanpete County
What are the barriers facing people needing food assistance in Sanpete County? Language barriers, logistics, Food Pantry hours and social stigma have been identified as major roadblocks in food distribution. This year funding and storage are also concerns for the Sanpete Pantry, the county’s largest source for food assistance.
On Aug. 23, an executive contingent from Utahns Against Hunger visited Sanpete County to meet with stakeholders from the Sanpete Pantry and the Six County CSBG Region (which includes Juab, Millard, Piute, Severe, Wayne and Sanpete) as part of UAH’s community engagement plan for 2020-21. Utahns Against Hunger is touring the state and hosting a series of stakeholder meetings with organizations that work to address food insecurity and provide direct services around food.
The Aug. 23 meeting started with a tour of the Sanpete Pantry including their storage facilities, outreach food delivery truck and the pantry itself, which has been reimagined to better serve people while keeping everyone safe during the pandemic. Executives of the Sanpete Pantry hosted the tour.
Led by Gina Cornia, Executive Director of Utahns Against Hunger, UAH then presented information to the Sanpete Pantry stakeholders, including recent survey results from 2021.
The survey was aimed at understanding four major issues within food pantries statewide:
- Funding and funding gaps.
- The impact of the COVID pandemic on food insecurity.
- Barriers for groups most likely to experience food insecurity.
- Client choice – culturally relevant food choices for immigrant and refugee families.
Utahns Against Hunger is Utah’s only state-wide anti-hunger nonprofit organization working on public policy and advocation for federal nutrition programs.
According to the USDA’s official definition of “food insecurity,” 14.7% of Sanpete County’s population qualify as food insecure, with 15% of the population existing at the poverty level or below, often an indicator of food insecurity. North Sanpete’s free and reduced-cost meal eligibility among students has been estimated as high as 51%, while South Sanpete has 41% of school-age kids eligible. Meanwhile, food assistance programs such as SNAP or WIC generally have an online qualifying process which makes access difficult for those without a computer or for those with language barriers, putting an additional strain on the services of the Sanpete Pantry.
Donating to the Sanpete Pantry is easier than ever. Check out its web page at http://sanpetepantry.org for more information on how to get involved.