Rhonda Menlove shoes how they stock the Garden City Food Pantry.
GARDEN CITY – The world pandemic has taken its toll on people across the country and food pantries are doing what they can to help families that have to choose between food, rent or heating bills.
It’s not only affecting the food banks in the big cities, but even smaller cities are feeling pressure. Garden City officials saw a need for a food pantry and started one three years ago.
Today, the food panty is located at 69 North Paradise Parkway on the upper floor of the library, which is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. then 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. And on Wednesday they are open from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.
“There were a lot of moving parts that all came together to make our food pantry work,” said Rhonda Menlove of Garden City. “Ken Hansen, a Garden City councilman over the library, began having a conversation about the need to help people in the community.”
Carmen Madsen, Barbara Turnbow and Rhonda Menlove have been involved in creating a food pantry from the beginning.
“COVID has definitely made it more complicated with work and hours being cut,” she said. “The library board heard there were people in the community that were experiencing some challenging times, so they gave up space where food could be stored.”
There are some low-income apartments in town and sometimes they need help.
“I served on the Utah State Legislature and knew there were resources available,” Menlove said. “It was a grass root effort. There was a bunch of women who got together and made it happen.”
“The pantry is serving 15 to 20 households a week,” she added. “The size of the families varies, but some weeks we can see as many as 58 individuals. The community food pantry is run by 10 volunteers that rotate through the week.
“We come to the Cache Food Pantry when we need things and at least every other month a Utah Food Bank truck from Salt Lake brings us food,” Menlove said. “Our local merchants have also been wonderful. Mikes Market donated almost 4,000 pounds of food and tons of non-food products when they moved.”
Vickie Willis of Bear Lake Farmacy, Betty Mills and others bring in fresh produce when they have it. Bear Lake area residents just bring in food.
The Boy Scouts of America brought us some food when they closed some of their camps last year,” she said.
The Garden City food pantry also serves Laketown and areas in between. The towns of Woodruff and Randolph have their own food pantries
Matt Whitaker, Executive Director of the Cache Food Pantry, said they were having a discussion about expanding their services to the Garden City area when Menlove happened into the facility after a short discussion expressing an interest in getting some help with their Garden City food pantry.
“Having a pantry should go a long way to helping the residents there. They Garden City food pantry works under our 501c,” Whitaker said. “That will save them time and a lot of paperwork.”
“Little Lambs (based in Logan) are totally awesome,” she said. “For new moms that have new babies, they bring diapers and blankets. It has been heavenly.”
Utah Senator Chris Wilson and his wife Kiersten donated money for a fridge and freezer for the panty. He said he felt like it was a good cause and something that needed to be done.
Randall Knight, a Garden City resident, connected them with RC Willey and got the appliances at a discounted price.