If you walked into the Grand County Food Bank’s warehouse just one month ago, chances are that you would have had trouble walking down the aisles awash with canned and packaged goods.
“It was just packed full,” Food Bank Director Leona Corn said. “In fact, we had more stuff than we could take in. They had to store it in Price.”
But after a very busy holiday season, the aisles are now obstacle-free, and many of the shelves are increasingly bare.
To help replenish the warehouse’s stock, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers are collecting canned goods and other nonperishable items at nearly two dozen locations around town, including City Market, Village Market, Moab Regional Hospital and the U.S. Post Office.
The food drive, which will continue throughout January, was organized to honor the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, according to AmeriCorps VISTA Leader Katlyn Keane.
“The AmeriCorps motto for Martin Luther King Jr. Day is, ‘Make it a day on, not a day off,’” Keane said.
Although donations are welcome at any time during a participating drop-off location’s hours, VISTA volunteers will be collecting items in person at City Market on Monday, Jan. 19 from late morning through early afternoon.
“So do your shopping on that day, everyone,” Keane said.
Keane plans to have a wish list of needed items ready by that time, but if anyone needs any advance tips on what they should donate, she suggests that they should contact the food bank directly at 435-259-6456.
The food bank is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays; Corn can also be reached after hours at 435-260-2043.
Corn said the food bank has a constant need for new supplies, as more and more people walk through its doors each week.
“We had so much food at Christmas, but look at our shelves now – how low they’re getting,” she said.
“People just keep coming in – new people – all the time.”
While many people are eager to give money to the food bank, Corn said it would prefer nonperishable canned or packaged goods instead of cash donations.
“If we could get people to donate food, we’d have it right now,” she said.
Corn is hopeful that the community’s generosity will continue through March, noting that donations over the holidays topped the previous year’s totals.
Back of Beyond Books owner Andy Nettell and his business donated more hams than any other donor – at least 45 by his count. That’s in addition to the 50 turkeys they donated ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We had a good year,” Nettell said. “We were in the black, and we wanted to give back to the community. That’s what this community is about – giving back to each other.”
The food bank honored Back of Beyond with a plaque that local artist Donna Jordan designed, although the kudos didn’t stop there: Corn had a long list of other donors to thank, including Arches Realty, Moab Realty, Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn and numerous other businesses.
Moonflower Community Cooperative also chipped in with 5 percent of one day’s receipts, while Pizza Hut continues to donate frozen goods every week.
Corn said the most heartwarming sights she saw were groups of local students who came by the food bank to drop off items.
“It was so cute. All these little kids came; each one had a can in one hand,” Corn said.
Volunteers will be collecting items in person at City Market on Monday, Jan. 19
When: The month of January
Where: Various locations around Moab; volunteers will be collecting items at City Market from late morning through early afternoon on Monday, Jan. 19.
Information: Call AmeriCorps VISTA Leader Katlyn Keane at 207-577-7607, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To participate in the food drive challenge, stop by various drop-off locations around Moab, including the Grand County Credit Union, Canyonlands Copy Center, Rim Cyclery, South Town Gym and the Moab Arts and Recreation Center.
For a full list of drop-off sites, or more information about the food drive, contact Katlyn Keane at 207-577-7607, or email email@example.com.