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Feed Utah aims to take a bite out of hunger

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I recently sat down to plan out my upcoming calendar and realized there are a lot of significant annual events that happen in March.

Some of those events are pure fun and joyful, like St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 and Holi Fest at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork on March 28–29.

Other days are slightly dreaded, like the beginning of Daylight Saving Time on March 8 and whatever the Ides of March are on the 15th.

There is also the month-long frenzy that is Girl Scout Cookie sales and the always-welcomed arrival of spring on March 19.

There is one event, however, that always tops my list of significance, and this year the event is experiencing a bit of a transformation.

Scouting for Food, the nationwide annual food drive, will now be known as Feed Utah 2020 within the state and is scheduled for March 21.

While the name and who can now participate might have changed, the partnerships and staggering need for the food drive have not. More participation

Previously, the Scouting for Food drive was primarily led by the Boy Scouts of America and directed locally by leaders within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

With the church’s separation from the Boy Scouts this year, the biggest change is the broadening of who can participate.

For 2020, all children ages 8 and older— both boys and girls—can now help collect donated canned goods for the food drive.

Under the direction of their adult leaders, this increased group of youth is now invited to focus on food collected within their assigned congregation, stake and ward boundaries. That process includes picking up plastic bags from participating Associated Food stores, distributing the bags to every door throughout the neighborhoods, and then collecting and dropping off the nonperishable food the morning of March 21.

By expanding who can participate in this year’s food drive, Feed Utah 2020 organizers anticipate even more success this year.

For the past 35 years, the national Scouting for Food drive has been collecting canned food for the nation’s food-insecure population.

Not wanting to diminish the success of the long-standing food drive, the local and general leadership within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined forces with Just Serve to continue the tradition within the state of Utah.

Other statewide partners include media sponsors, the Boy Scouts of America, the Utah National Guard, the Utah Trucking Association, and Associated Food Stores like Macey’s, Kamas Food Town, Day’s, and Fresh Market.

In 2019, Community Action Services and Food Bank provided food for 26,784 individuals, including 10,614 families, and sent home 40,832 Kids Nutrition Paks, serving food-insecure residents living in Utah, Summit and Wasatch counties.

This food drive comes at the perfect time each year when the CASFB food bank, the second-largest in the state, is beginning to be depleted after the holiday season.

Another highlight for this year is that every single can of food donated within Utah, Summit and Wasatch counties during this food drive will stay in those three counties, providing much-needed sustenance for your own neighbors.

Mark your calendars for March 21 and start cleaning out those pantries. If you don’t receive donation bags or flyers, we strongly encourage you to bring any bags or boxes of food items directly to our Provo location (815 S. Freedom Blvd.) that day.

We will have teams of people ready to help you with your donations. To learn more about Feed Utah 2020 or find a drop-off location near you, visit FeedUtah2020.org.

Richard Manning is the food bank manager of Community Action Services and Food Bank in Provo. CASFB is located at 815 S. Freedom Blvd., Suite 100. (Serve Daily submission.)

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