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Utah Food Bank
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Utah Food Bank working to feed furloughed workers’ families

The Utah Food Bank is running special programs to help ensure furloughed federal workers can still feed their families. (Photo: Ravell Call / Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox have released a call to action to all Utahns. With over 10,000 furloughed employees in Utah struggling to make ends meet, they’ve called on every Utahn to donate to the Utah Food Bank.

Thousands of federal workers are going without pay as the longest government shutdown in history drags on. Last week, the Utah Department of Workforce said that 2,450 of those federal employees had already filed unemployment claims, with that number rising every day.

Several thousands more don’t have that option. Essential employees required to work through the shutdown for nothing more than the promise that they’ll paid when it ends are not allowed to apply for unemployment aid., and so are forced to struggle to find ways to feed their families while they wait for the paychecks to come in.

Utah Food Bank President Ginette Bott spoke to KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic today to share what they’re doing to make sure those furloughed workers can put on food on their tables and how you can help.

How the Utah Food Bank helps furloughed workers

Utah Food Bank

Ginette Bott, president and CEO of Utah Food Bank, speaks to KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic. (Photo: Qiling Wang / Deseret News)

Any federal worker affected by the furlough, Bott says, will be automatically eligible to get food at a Utah Food Bank pantry.

Normally, the different agencies set their own procedures to verify paperwork or to do anything else they need to ensure that their food is going out to people in need. However, to make things as easy as possible during the furlough, Bott says, the rules have changed.

Federal workers only need to show an ID, a work badge, or anything else that might show who they are and how they were affected by the furlough and they will get immediate help.

As for those essential employees who still have to work, the Food Bank is doing its best bring the food right to them. Next week, Bott says, the Food Bank will be going to the airport and handing out food to TSA workers.

For those want to help, the Utah Food Bank makes it as easy as they can to donate food or money. Speaking to Dave & Dujanvoic, Bott highlighted the Food Bank’s “Virtual Food Drive,” which lets donors pick out and pay for the food they want to donate online.

“We use your dollars and our buying power so we can buy more,” Bott says. For every $1 donated through the Virtual Food Drive, she says the Food Bank is able to get $7.34 worth of food and services.

Physical food donations, however, are still very valuable. “The dollars that come to us really are important,” she says, “but the product brings variety, and that’s important as well.”

Thanks to the generous spirit of the holiday season, the Utah Food Bank still has a great deal of resources to help out the needy. Bott says that, for the moment, “it really looks as though we are able to maintain some of those special things that we need to do.”

More help, however, always helps them take care of those in need, especially during a trying time like this one.

Anyone in need can find a pantry here, and anyone looking to help can donate here.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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