Utah Food Bank programs target child hunger

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SALT LAKE CITY – Officials with the Utah Food Bank said one in five children don’t know where their next meal will come from, and they’ve created a variety of programs designed to feed children in need.

Randy Halverson manages the Kid’s Café program for the Utah Food Bank, and he said up to 1,800 meals are prepared and delivered to needy Utah children each day.

“The kids are from low-income families,” he said. “That's who we're trying to help.”

Ginette Bott, chief marketing officer for Utah Food Bank, said the problem of child hunger isn’t always obvious.

“You can't look at someone and tell that they're hungry,” she said. “It's kind of an invisible epidemic, if you will.”

The food bank delivers meals to after school programs and other organizations, like the Girls and Boys Clubs, each weekday.

“These kids are getting dinner in that after school program,” Bott said.

And Bott said they feed kids on weekends too.

“When they leave on Friday, they take home enough product in a nondescript backpack that they have something that they can eat, enjoy and prepare for themselves for a Saturday and Sunday scenario,” she said. “Monday they bring the backpack back, and we do it the next week.”

Halverson said it’s an undertaking that requires a lot of organization and hard work.

“We've gotta have three drivers and three delivery trucks and all the gas and labor for the drivers and everything,” he said.

And Halverson said the job is possible through the generosity of others.

“We pretty much come up with some money through donations to help that end of it,” he said. “Every little bit counts.”

Cyprus Credit Union is accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash for the Utah Food Bank through the month of September at all of their locations. To learn more about how you can help the Utah Food Bank, visit their website.