Only two days after making the first delivery of what will be more than 100,000 pounds of food to Utah’s Navajo neighbors, Farmers Feeding Utah is launching its second miracle project: Miracle Project Northern Utah.
The campaign hopes to raise $150,000 through grassroots and corporate donations to help those struggling in the northern reaches of the state.
“As the land-grant university that is proud to count so many farmers and ranchers as alumni, I can think of no better way to help them during this difficult time – and help needy families as well – than what this program has been doing,” said Noelle E. Cockett, president of Utah State University. “I’m proud to have our ‘Hunger Solutions Institute’ and Extension play such a significant role in helping individuals and families in Utah – including our own students – get the food they need. I would encourage current and former Aggies everywhere to visit FarmersFeedingUtah.org and consider how you may be able to contribute.”
“The Cache Food Pantry has lost two of our major food drives this past year – the Boy Scouts of America and the Post Office food drives – due to Coronavirus, and so the food donations used to sustain families are gone,” said Matt Whitaker, Cache Food Pantry Director. “There are more clients than ever because of being out of work, and grocery stores have been less able to donate because of the rush of shoppers. Ultimately, we’re just looking to serve individuals and families in need – especially those that have fallen through the cracks.”
Unemployment rates in Cache County have more than doubled compared to last year, and its food pantry (which also serves students from Utah State University) has increased by 30 percent. Unemployment in Box Elder County has more than tripled, with demand increasing by 20 percent. Farmers Feeding Utah will use donations to help these local pantries.
“We’ve seen miracles in how needy families in Utah got the food they needed, and we’ve been able to support some of our local farmers,” 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 first project, and I’m confident we’ll rise to meet this new one as well.”
Volunteers will also distribute a variety of foods in other discreet locations throughout the region, notifying the recently unemployed about where they can pick up the farm-fresh food. All donations are used to purchase, process, and deliver food to families in need, giving both struggling farmers and Utah families a hand up.
“Farmers Feeding Utah is a program that is setting up a sustainable food system that helps farmers have the capacity to provide commodities to individuals and families,” said Heidi LeBlanc, Create Better Health and Hunger Solutions Institute Director at Utah State University. “It also provides food access to people in need. It is food security.”
“We’re looking forward to launching this next ‘Miracle Project’, and know the people, organizations, and companies of northern Utah will come through,” Gibson said. “Keeping our farms and families going is the ultimate goal, and I know we can achieve it.”
To contribute to this project-specific goal of $150,000 in online donations, those interested can visit FarmersFeedingUtah.org.
Vice President - Communications & Utah Farm and Fork Editor
Utah Farm Bureau