BY TOM BUSSELBERG
BOUNTIFUL — South Davis families can help stamp out hunger by placing canned and dry food items next to their mailbox Saturday morning.
Postal workers affiliated with the National Association of Letter Carriers will be picking up the food donations during their regular rounds.
In some cases, community groups such as the Boy Scouts may be called upon to assist in the effort, which is a major source of support for the Bountiful Community Food Pantry.
Seventeen percent of Utahns are unsure of where their next meal will come from, said Lorna Koci, executive director of the food pantry. That’s 472,000 people, or one-and-a-half times the population of Davis County. She cited a recent study by Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network.
Even more children, or one in five, fall into that food insecurity category, the study said.
Most-needed non-perishable food items include canned fruit, vegetables and meat, as well as peanut butter and pasta, Koci said.
The drive is in its 21st year and brought donations of about 45,000 pounds to the Bountiful Food Pantry and about 65,000 pounds to the Family Connection Center Food Pantry.
“With children being home in the summer, we know that children needing food assistance increases. This food drive is critical to provide for that need,” Koci said.
“As summer approaches, Utah Food Bank is preparing for high demand due to the conclusion of the school year,” said Karen Sendelback, the food bank’s CEO.
She said the drive helps the food bank and local pantries prepare for an increased need in the summer.
That’s because many students coming from low-income households eat one or two meals a day at school. But most schools are closed in the summer months.
The letter carrier’s drive and annual Boy Scout effort in March are considered the two largest such efforts to support food pantries and those in need across the state.
The next major food drive is part of Hunger Action Month in September.
The Bountiful Food Pantry serves patrons from Farmington south to the county line and the Family Connection Food Bank in Layton serves the rest of Davis County.
• Canned fruit and vegetables.
• Canned or otherwise non-perishable meat, including tuna.
• Peanut butter
• Pasta, whether in meal packets or as plain noodles.