As the impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt throughout the state, Farmers Feeding Utah is launching its third “miracle project” to provide relief to families with food insecurities in the west part of Salt Lake City. The delivery is scheduled for July 27.
“Instead of mourning the barriers in the food supply system, we’ve gone to work growing a miracle with the ‘Farmers Feeding Utah’ campaign,” said Ron Gibson, president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. “Another part of this miracle is to see the way things have come together. Utahns have been incredibly generous and stepped up to the challenge on our earlier projects, and I’m confident we’ll rise to meet this new one as well.”
The campaign hopes to raise $100,000 through grassroots and corporate donations by July 24 to help those struggling on the west side of the Salt Lake valley. More than 15,000 individuals have recently lost employment and signed up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Utah, and many of them live in the Salt Lake Valley. With the continued impact of the coronavirus, those numbers continue to rise.
“COVID-19 has really heightened the issue of food insecurity in communities across Utah. The work that is being done by Farmers Feeding Utah is critical in making sure that families and individuals have the food they need,” said Gina Cornia, executive director of Utahns Against Hunger. “It is especially important that when you look at the data, the need has always been there for neighborhoods on the west side of Salt Lake, and that need is only growing as this crisis continues.”
“We’re using data to help us make the best decisions on who is in the most need and where to go with the limited resources we have,” said Heidi LeBlanc, director of the Hunger Solutions Institute and Create Better Health at Utah State University. “While we know approximately 15,000 that signed up for assistance so far, there’s no doubt the true need is even greater than that.”
Farmers Feeding Utah is a campaign of the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that was set up as the charitable arm of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. Additional logistical and in-kind support has come from partners, including Utah State University and its Hunger Solutions Institute, the Utah Department of Agriculture & Food, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Farm Bureau Financial Services.
To date, the Farmers Feeding Utah campaign has raised more than $300,000 in donations from individuals and businesses, and provided more than 200,000 pounds of food, with a retail value of more than $500,000, to Utah residents in the Navajo Nation and northern Utah.