Farmers Feeding Utah program helps hundreds of Provo families

Nov 19, 2021, 8:19 PM | Updated: 11:53 pm

PROVO, Utah — More than 500 families lined up in their cars outside the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo Friday morning.

They were there because the group Farmers Feeding Utah was there, too.

“You want a bag of potatoes?” one volunteer asked a woman in her car.

The Utah Farm Bureau created Farmers Feeding Utah during the pandemic last year to help families with food insecurity. The program also helps Utah farmers find a market for their product with so many restaurants and stores closed.

People donate money to the program, which then buys food from local farmers, and the group donates that food to families and food banks across the state.

“We try to do it once a month, all throughout the state of Utah. We’re in a different county every single time,” said Clayton Beckstead with the Utah Farm Bureau.

Provo is the 28th Farmers Feeding Utah event.

Overall, the group has handed out food to more than 40,000 families.

“I love it. I love seeing people come through,” said Heidi LeBlanc while handing out a bag of food.

“I think it’s just great because a lot of people can’t afford a lot of food,” said one woman who was in line. “For them to be able to give some out really helps a lot of people.”

“It is a marvelous service,” said a man as he watched a volunteer put milk and eggs into his trunk. “Wow, this is great. There is so many people needing right now.”

Even though unemployment numbers are at a record low in Utah, many families say times are still tough and having enough to eat is a luxury.

“Maybe people who don’t have the high paying jobs are just trying to make ends meet. Maybe this helps bridge the gap until payday,” said Beckstead.

The food includes meat, potatoes, apples, and bread, as well as other staples.

Farmers Feeding Utah admits they don’t know if the people in line truly have a need for food, but program coordinators say it doesn’t matter.

“It is an honor system,” said LeBlanc. “We don’t ask any questions here. We don’t look at identification. We just want to make sure that, if somebody is willing to come through and wait in a line, that they’re able to get food.”

Maybe that person knows someone with a need and is bringing the food to them. Either way, Farmers Feeding Utah knows the food is being used and the program is helping those who need it.

“Hopefully we can keep it going,” said LeBlanc.

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Farmers Feeding Utah program helps hundreds of Provo families