As the impacts of the current health pandemic continue to be felt throughout the state, Farmers Feeding Utah is launching its third miracle project to provide relief to farmers and families: Miracle Project West Salt Lake, which will take place July 27.
“Instead of mourning the barriers in the food supply system, we’ve gone to work growing a miracle with the ‘Farmers Feeding Utah’ campaign,” said Ron Gibson, President of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. “Another part of this miracle is to see the way things have come together. Utahns have been incredibly generous and stepped up to the challenge on our earlier projects, and I’m confident we’ll rise to meet this new one as well.”
The campaign hopes to raise $100,000 through grassroots and corporate donations by July 24 to help those struggling on the west side of the Salt Lake valley. More than 15,000 individuals have recently lost employment and signed up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Utah, and many of them live in the Salt Lake valley. With the continued impact of the Coronavirus, those numbers continue to rise.
“Covid-19 has really heightened the issue of food insecurity in communities across Utah. The work that is being done by Farmers Feeding Utah is critical in making sure that families and individuals have the food they need,” said Gina Cornia, Executive Director of Utahns Against Hunger. “It is especially important that when you look at the data, the need has always been there for neighborhoods on the west side of Salt Lake, and that need is only growing as this crisis continues.”
“We’re using data to help us make the best decisions on who is in the most need and where to go with the limited resources we have,” said Heidi LeBlanc, Director of the Hunger Solutions Institute and Create Better Health at Utah State University. “While we know approximately 15,000 that signed up for assistance so far, there’s no doubt the true need is even greater than that.”
Farmers Feeding Utah is a campaign of the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that was set up as the charitable arm of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. Additional logistical and in-kind support has come from invaluable partners, including Utah State University (USU) and its Hunger Solutions Institute, the Utah Department of Agriculture & Food (UDAF), The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Farm Bureau Financial Services.
“By serving a community on the west side of Salt Lake City, Farmers Feeding Utah is connecting urban families and individuals in need with food from Utah farms and ranches to help those with limited resources have healthy choices,” LeBlanc added. “Together Farm Bureau, Utah State University and other volunteers, partners and donors are inspiring public confidence and support in American agriculture and meeting hunger needs at the same time.”
“As harm drags on, more and more families need help – both our farm families and our urban neighbors struggling with food insecurity,” Gibson said. “With the help of donors and businesses, we’ve been able to rise to the challenge and we ask for their help again now.”
“We are thrilled to have the Farmers Feeding Utah campaign come to Salt Lake for its third project. We recognize that there is a huge demand for food currently and expect this to be their biggest event yet,” said Andree’ Walker Bravo, Urban Extension Director for USU Extension in Salt Lake County. “As food security becomes more and more of an issue due to COVID-19, we want to get these resources into as many hands as possible and have a positive effect on our communities.”
Volunteers will soon notify the recently unemployed and others in need about where they can pick up the farm-fresh food on July 27. All donations to the ‘Miracle of Agriculture Foundation’ for the Farmers Feeding Utah project are used to purchase, process, and deliver food to families in need, giving both struggling farmers and Utah families a hand up.
To date, the Farmers Feeding Utah campaign has raised more than $300,000 in donations from individuals and businesses, and provided more than 200,000 lbs. of food, with a retail value of more than $500,000 to Utah residents in the Navajo Nation and northern Utah.
To contribute to this project-specific goal of $100,000 in donations, individuals and businesses can go to FarmersFeedingUtah.org.
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