ST. GEORGE, UTAH – A new food pantry officially opened in St. George Wednesday, increasing the number of low-income families the group can serve while improving storage for donations.
The 4,000 square foot building is located adjacent to the Switchpoint Center, which is a multi-use complex catering to homeless and low-income populations. Center Executive Director Carol Hollowell said a larger pantry will allow them to better address an increasing need.
“We’re handing out almost 100,000 pounds every month,” Hollowell said. “And that was at our old pantry. It’s going to be double if you go into this big of a space.”
Part of that increase comes from a consolidation of resources. In July, the Dixie Care and Share closed its food pantry, leaving Switchpoint as the primary source. Hollowell said the move was done as a part of way to eliminate redundancies.
The $300,000 pantry was built from the ground up and paid for through grants from the Larry H. Miller & Gail Miller foundation, as well as the Sorensen Legacy Foundation. The pantry operates in partnership with the Utah food bank.
“It’s going to have people in and out, especially with the volume of people,” said pantry client and volunteer Isaiah Hinojosa.
Hinojosa said one of the best things about the new pantry is that it gives a greater feel of normalcy. It's set up more like a market, meaning those in need can shop and feel a little more normal walking through.
“The other facilities they had, they were alright, but this is definitely, the volume of people we can get in here, and the food that we can hold, is key,” said Hinojosa.
In addition to a pantry, Switchpoint also opened a new laundry facility. The old pantry will be converted into a bedroom for the emergency shelter.