Murray Children’s Pantry pleas for helpJul 01, 2022 09:29AM ● By Shaun Delliskave
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Now more than ever, the demand for food at the Murray Children’s Pantry (170 E. 5770 South) has been so great that its shelves are empty. In early June, the pantry put out a plea asking for immediate help in food donations.
“We need your help,” the pantry posted on Facebook. “The Murray Children’s Pantry is experiencing our highest demand ever.”
Murray City and the Wasatch Front are not immune from the effects of rising inflation across the country. As a result, more people are turning to different resources for help, including local food pantries.
Marking its second anniversary, the demands on the pantry have changed significantly. When they opened their doors in 2020, the coronavirus was ramping ever upward, in conjunction with the jobless rate as businesses closed.
Now, with a ramped-up economy and more jobs than people to fill them, global issues drive up the cost of food. In addition, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has driven the cost of fuel up dramatically and straining already tentative supply chains.
“We are in a time that the most vulnerable people in our community are getting hit with one challenge after another,” the pantry posted. “One of the personal challenges is food insecurity.”
An independent food charity, the pantry is not associated with any government organization, religious group, or corporate entity. It remains entirely dependent on community support. The structure that houses the pantry was provided for use by the Murray Baptist Church.
Food donations from the community have been more critical as inflation has lessened the impact of a cash donation. Still, they will take whatever they can get.
“Anything you can donate would be much appreciated,” the pantry posted. “All nonperishable, nonexpired food will be accepted.”
Murray Children’s Pantry president Jim Brass told the Murray Journal last year, “We do not receive any government funding and are not part of any surplus foods program.”
Housing costs across Salt Lake Valley have skyrocketed. According to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, Salt Lake County’s median price of homes sold rose 22% compared to $378,250 in 2020. For single-family homes sold in 2021, the median price climbed to $533,000, up 25% compared to single-family home’s price of $425,000 in 2020.
Brass calls this a perfect storm with inflation, supply-chain issues, and housing costs in flux.
“I don’t think it’s a case of being unable to find jobs as much as it is a case of housing being unaffordable right now. I saw where you have to make more than $20 an hour to afford a small apartment in the valley,” Brass said.
With the pantry averaging 1,300 meals a week, it estimates that it will have to provide over 50,000 meals this year. While initially a children’s pantry, it gives “weekend bags” that will feed a person for two days, or when children cannot participate in the school lunch program. The pantry has now expanded to adults by providing “family boxes,” which will feed a family of four for a week.
As an all-volunteer organization, the pantry invites the community to drop off food items every Tuesday, and third Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon. The most needed items are cereal, macaroni and cheese, pudding cups, crackers, shelf-stable milk, ramen, juice boxes, and pancake mix.“If our regular operating days and hours don’t work, we will be happy to schedule a pick up or drop off of your donation,” the pantry posted. To learn more or make an appointment with the pantry, more information can be found online at www.murraychildrenspantry.org