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Taylorsville Food Pantry donations fall in summer, but hunger doesn’t

Jul 27, 2017 03:38PM ● Published by Carl Fauver

Taylorsville Food Pantry volunteer Sue Lane says cash and food donations are always welcome. (Carl Fauver)

Gallery: Taylorsville Food Pantry [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

Volunteers at the Taylorsville Food Pantry say they are always busy during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. And there’s normally plenty of food to hand out at that time.

But often in the heat of summer—when our attention turns to swimming, baseball games and camping—things can slow down at the pantry (4775 South Plymouth View Drive, near 1600 West).

“People get busy this time of year and sometimes forget about us,” volunteer Sue Lane said. “But those who need it are hungry year-round—so we can always use donations.”

Lane has been a fixture at the pantry for four years. A few months after arriving, she talked her daughter, Tiffany Diaz, into assisting as well. She is the pantry’s primary record keeper.

“There are several food pantries throughout the (Salt Lake) Valley, and we really only have the budget and donations to serve Taylorsville residents,” Diaz said. “Part of my job is to make sure everyone we serve is eligible.”

The Taylorsville Food Pantry requires those in need to complete an application before receiving service. They must present legal identification, proof they reside in the city (such as a recent utility bill mailed to a Taylorsville address) and information showing they are income eligible for the service.

An individual must show an income level of $1,459 per month, or less, to receive food pantry donations. A family of eight can have a monthly household income of just over $5,000 and still be eligible.

“If anyone comes here who is not eligible for our service, we always assist them in finding the proper location to get the help they need,” Diaz added.

“We serve about 12,00 people every month,” Lane said.

The biggest variety of food is handed out on Saturdays at the Taylorsville Food Pantry, after area grocery stores make perishable donations. Fresh fruits, vegetables, bread and milk are more plentiful on the weekend.

Another volunteer, Andraea Jones, provides her service to the food pantry through the Americorps volunteer program.

“This is a very rewarding place to help out,” Jones said. “I remember one time a little girl stopped in on her birthday with her family, hoping we might have a birthday cake. Luckily, a grocery store had donated a cake the day before. That girl left with the biggest smile on her face. That was a great moment.”

The Taylorsville Food Pantry functions primarily off Community Development Block Grant funding. However, this year, it also received an added bonus when the new Regal Theater donated ticket sales revenue just a few days before its official grand opening in March.

“We received about $11,000 from the theater,” Lane said. “Among other things, it will help us purchase food items for people we don’t normally have, such as Ensure (a nutritional supplement drink).”

Taylorsville City provides the pantry with the building, electricity and Wi-Fi service.

Taylorsville Boy Scout Joseph Riggs also assisted the pantry last year, in a different way. For his Eagle Scout project, he installed new shelves at the pantry.

“My mom helped me find the project when she learned the previous food pantry shelves were collapsing,” Riggs said. “I worked out a discounted price with Lowe’s to purchase the materials, and we created about double the shelf space they had before. I’m very proud of it.”

Lane says other Scouts and various organizations have also completed service projects at the pantry.

“It’s very rewarding to see the groups help out,” Lane said. “And it’s also rewarding to see those in need get help. Some people are embarrassed to come in, so we do everything we can to help them feel more comfortable. It’s nice to see them leave feeling positive.”

The Taylorsville Food Pantry is open Monday afternoons from 1 to 3 p.m., Wednesday evenings from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon.

The types of food donations most in demand now include canned pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned fruit, jelly and canned pastas such as SpaghettiOs and ravioli. Glass jars should be avoided.

“I know we’ll be busy again this fall,” Lane said. “But it will be helpful when people remember hunger is a problem throughout the year.” 

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