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Isaac Hale, photo courtesy of the Daily Herald

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall throws away a box of organized canned soups with other soups as she and other Salt Lake City and Utah county government officials work at the Public Action Service and Food Bank in Provo on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 .

“What’s for dinner?” Parents hear this question every day, if not 100 times a day. When the cabinets are empty and the refrigerator is empty, this question can be difficult to answer. Donated food can save the lives of families in Utah County, where fourteen% residents live below the poverty line.

People in the Utah Valley often donate food to help their friends, neighbors, and families in the community. Last year, Community Action Services and Food Bank raised over 3.5 million pounds of food. As a result, families can turn to Community Action Services and the Food Bank for food and other resources to support them in times of need. Here’s what people need to know about giving and receiving food.

Where do my food donations go?

You sent your kids boxes of cereal, macaroni and cheese for the school food delivery, or maybe you left a bunch of canned goods in the grocery pantry. That being said, you might wonder what will become of all that food.

Rest assured, it won’t lie in this donation basket for long. Soon he will go to different places to help those in need. Most of the food will go directly to our food warehouses in Provo, Springville, Heber City and Coalville. There, people can “buy” the goods they need to feed their families.

Donations also reach community partners across Utah to ensure they reach the people who need them most. Juice boxes, dried fruit, and microwaveable macaroni and cheese can be part of the Baby food package which can be distributed to children in schools throughout the valley. Other canned goods, baked goods, and other essentials can be sent to retirement centers for the elderly on a fixed income. We also provide essential supplies to dozens of local partners, including Centro Hispano, House of Hope, Alpine House and more.

What food should I donate?

It’s not always easy to figure out what to donate from your pantry. The best rule of thumb is to donate groceries and essentials that your own family may need. While canned green beans and ramen noodles are easy to find and cheaper, they aren’t always as tasty or healthy as other options. Some great long term storage options include rice, beans, pasta, and canned fruits and vegetables. Spices are also very useful to make dishes more flavorful.

You also don’t have to stick with shelf-stable foods. Fresh produce is always welcome: if your garden has more tomatoes than you could ever eat, or your squash is filling your yard, take some of the excess to the food bank. To see some of our most needed items, visit https://bit.ly/3tFumN6.

Can I donate/eat expired food?

YES! Don’t be afraid of expired products. Many shelf-stable foods can be eaten several years after the date. We accept canned food that is up to four years old.

Regardless of the age of the food, donate only food in good condition. Don’t give food that has been damaged or opened, swollen or damaged.

If you receive food from the pantry that is past its expiration date, don’t throw it away. Expired foods can often be safely prepared for your family. Dates for food labels may have different meanings, and pantry foods may remain safe and taste good for some time. To learn more about individual products, please consult the USDA. food keeper app to find out how long food can be stored and safely eaten.

How can I donate food?

Donating food to the Public Action Service and the Food Bank couldn’t be easier. There are many donation opportunities to suit any schedule and budget. Here are some ideas.

  • Food delivery: You can bring food to our stock, located at 815 S. Freedom Blvd., Ste. 100, in Provo, from 8:00 to 16:00 Monday to Thursday and from 8:00 to 15:00 on Friday. Your donation will be weighed and you will receive a receipt from an employee. If you have non-perishable items to donate, you are welcome to come any time that is convenient for you. If you need to come in after hours, just drop your food into the chute outside the warehouse door.
  • Food Drive: If you want to get your friends, neighbors, colleagues, or church group involved in the action, you can organize food drive to collect even more food. Whether you need social media advertising, trash cans or other assistance, we’ll be happy to help make your trip a success.
  • Donate money: A little donated dollars can go a long way. Just 1 dollar can feed family of four for all day. Community Action Services can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products through our Community Partners and Food Rescue Program. Thus, even a small donation will go a long way and can help fill in the gaps with products that are not donated as often.

If you want to bless other families with donated food, or if your family needs help getting enough nutritious food, visit Community Action Services and the Food Bank. We are committed to helping all families have enough healthy food and resources to lift themselves out of poverty.

Karen McCandless is the CEO of Community Action Services and Food Bank in Provo. CASFB is located at 815 S. Freedom Blvd., Ste. 100. For more information on educational programs, how to donate, upcoming classes, food promotions and more, visit communityactionuc.org or call 801-373-8200.



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