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Draper Journal

Draper Pantry has plenty for those in need

Jun 29, 2020 10:15AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

Volunteers at the food pantry are following all Utah Food Bank guidelines for the health and safety of their clients. Pictured L-R are volunteers Chris R., Cindy M., Gary E., Brenda P. and Hannah W. Last names not given. (Photo courtesy South Valley Jesus Feeds Food Pantry)

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

Hannah Weiss knows what it’s like to not have enough food. Years ago, when she was raising children by herself, she depended on public support. “I’ve been where they’re at. I know it’s hard and I just want to give back,” she said. 

That’s what led her to be the volunteer director of the South Valley Jesus Feeds Food Pantry, a branch of the Utah Food Bank. She’s assisted by co-leader Susan Harrell and a team of volunteers. 

Wednesdays are spent stocking the pantry’s shelves with donations. Thursdays are when clients come to have their shopping lists fulfilled. Clients are received by appointment only for their privacy, because the pantry is small, and so they don’t have to wait in line.

Prior to the pandemic, clients were invited into the pantry to shop for themselves. These days they drive up, present their shopping list, and their order is filled curbside by volunteers wearing masks and gloves. “The way we’ve been doing it is so safe. We can absolutely alleviate their fears. All they have to do is show up once and realize. We’ll stay that way until such a time that the Utah Food Bank changes their guidelines,” Weiss said. 

The pantry hasn’t seen a huge increase in clients as has happened across the nation with the pandemic and accompanying economic downturn. But Weiss attributes that to several factors. The main reason is that the pantry is small and by appointment only. 

“Other pantries are take a number, stand in line, and hope that there’s something at the end of the day,” Weiss said. Secondly, she said there’s often a decrease in need at this time of year because people get their tax returns and don’t come in for a month or two, a trend the Utah Food Bank also sees. “But then they come back, especially when the kids get out of school.” 

She gives credit to the Utah Food Bank. “They’ve done a wonderful job of managing distribution during COVID,” she said, adding that the federal government has been sending more food during the pandemic. Lastly, Weiss said that people in Utah are not greedy, that they’re humble and want their needs met, but they don’t want to take anything from someone else who might be worse off. That means there continues to be plenty available to those in need. 

The food pantry would like to give a special “shout out” to the South Jordan Sam’s Club manager Scott Northridge. “They’re always there if we need donations, especially around the holidays when we’re trying to give everyone a good Thanksgiving or Christmas,” Weiss said. 

She admitted that sometimes it’s difficult to witness such need. “Especially when some of our clients are ill, it’s hard to watch them struggle physically in addition to their financial hardship.” 

But, more often than not, what happens at the food pantry is inspiring.

“We have people that come in with needs, and like clockwork, we have everything on their list and they are literally in tears. That’s what makes us thrive is seeing that happen, and it happens consistently. It’s just here, whatever they need. That’s faith promoting right there,” she said. 

If you are in need of assistance or if you’d like to volunteer, call 801-688-7251. Donations are accepted Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. just inside the front doors of The Adventure Church located at 352 W. 12300 South, Suite 100, in Draper. They are always in need of toilet paper, toothpaste and toothbrushes, canned goods (especially corn), pastas, cereal and baking ingredients such as flour and sugar.