It’s hard to feel the holiday spirit when your stomach is empty and you don’t know where or when you’ll get your next meal. That’s the circumstance in which 14 percent of Utah County residents find themselves, and the shelves at the area’s largest food bank — Community Action Services and Food Bank — need restocking.


Luckily, Utahns are known for their generosity and volunteer spirit. With a citywide food drive and high school donation collection effort, the food bank’s situation is looking up.


Orem efforts

When Orem Mayor Richard Brunst heard the food bank was low on food — especially protein-packed non-perishables, he jumped into action. He teamed up with Community Action for a food drive through Dec. 21. He’s got a donation barrel in his office, and he’s asking Orem residents to bring food donations to the city offices. The city will then take the items to the food bank; Brunst is hoping city staff has to make many trips to empty the barrel.


“I would like to lead out on this effort,” Brunst said. “I’d like to fill the barrel up many times.”


Specifically, the food bank needs canned items like chili, stew, tuna, canned meat, peanut butter, vegetables, and fruit. It also would like to have snack foods and treats for families to celebrate the holidays, like cake and muffin mixes, chips and microwave popcorn.


“We want to meet a family’s basic needs,” said Karen McCandless, director of Community Action Services and Food Bank. “In moderation, we would like to also provide a variety of foods and snacks during the holidays.”


If you want to drop off food bank donations, the Orem city offices are at 56 S. State St. Or you can take them directly to the food bank, at 815 S. Freedom Blvd. in Provo.


Souper Bowl of Caring

Provo High School students also have teamed up to help the food bank this holiday season. In November, students collected canned food and cash. They raised $6,800 and presented a check to the food bank. Now the agency will use the money to stock the food bank shelves. While many people only think about donating food to the organization, McCandless said the food bank is happy to accept monetary donations as well.


Generous Utah County residents are helping restock the shelves at Community Action Services and Food Bank, keeping local families fed during the holidays.