A commitment to community needs—Granite Education Foundation feeds
Jun 15, 2020 11:43AM
By Katy Whittingham
By Katy Whittingham | [email protected]
With nearly 65% of Granite School District’s student population food insecure before the pandemic, Granite Education Foundation has stepped up efforts to provide help even with school food pantries closed by keeping food donations flowing into the community.
According to Granite Education Foundation CEO Brent Severe this would not be possible without the help of partners and volunteers. “Many have been volunteering with us from the very start when schools were closed. Our Donation and Distribution Center is large enough to receive large pallets of food from partnering agencies like the LDS Church, Utah Food Bank and others,” he said.
As of May 14, approximately 202,304 meals were delivered, and with the nine weeks since schools had been closed, this equates to an average of 4,496 meals a day.
“Every Monday and Tuesday, volunteers come to our distribution center to help fill food bags and load pallets for deliveries to our schools with food pantries. We deliver approximately 12 to 16 pallets a week, along with bread delivery,” said Kim Oborn, food pantry program coordinator for the foundation.
Not a part of the free and reduced lunch program, the meals that Granite Education Foundation volunteers hand out are a replacement for the now closed in-school food pantries.
"We get requests and help as many as we can,” Oborn said. “We have assisted the Utah Food Bank with their mobile food pantry. The Utah Food Bank usually distributes to schools once a month, but with the closing of schools and many corporate businesses unable to send volunteers, the foundation has helped by having the food delivered to our distribution center and then a group of drivers, including volunteers from Rocky Mountain Power have dropped off the pre-bagged food at each school.”
Granite Education Foundation is also currently engaged in efforts with local restaurants by partnering with these restaurants to keep employees engaged, provide nutritionally balanced, culturally diverse, and affordable fresh meals as additional nourishment to highly impacted communities.
“Our Restaurant Meal Kit Initiative has provided 7,980 meals as we have partnered with Saffron Valley, Marley's Sliders, Rico Foods, and HB Boys/Burger King,” Oborn said.
All of these efforts have not gone unacknowledged. A senior community school director at one local elementary school explained, "We had a family come in this morning to pick up their Chromebooks. We found out it was one of her student’s birthdays, so the whole gym burst out in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him. We were then able to provide them with a food bag that had a cake and frosting in it for his birthday. This student was smiling ear to ear and so were we. Our district is incredibly lucky to have the foundation supporting our students, and we were all reminded of that this morning.”
For more information on all of the Granite Education Foundation’s efforts and ways to volunteer visit granitekids.org.