The South Salt Lake Food Desert and VAN Week!

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By Chris Dammert
Moss Elementary Community School Director

Do you know what a food desert is? Well, I certainly didn’t when I started here at James E. Moss elementary. In fact, when I was first told about it I envisioned a sprawling landscape of giant rolling dunes made of rice, populated by spaghetti sidewinders with meatball eyes, and salad scorpions with carrot stick legs! Needless to say, I was quite dismayed upon hearing the harsh, far less whimsical truth. South Salt Lake is a food desert. It is a place that lies beyond a reasonable distance from the nearest grocery store. The families that reside within its boundaries (many of whom do not own a vehicle) must walk for miles just to shop for the food and sundries required to sustain the health and well-being of their families at the expense of their limited time and energy.

This is the bitter reality that faces many of the students and families who live in South Salt Lake. What if I told you that we can come together as a community and help?! Well… we can!

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Many of our community schools have started in-house food pantries to help keep our students and their families fed. Thanks to generous food donations by the Granite Education Foundation along with individual donors, we are able to keep our shelves stocked with the food and personal grooming items they need to lead happier, healthier lives. Families can come to our schools weekly and leave with enough food for every member of their family.

“But how do I get involved? How can I help?” I hear you asking. Well, my friends, I am excited to tell you we are having our first ever “Pack the Pantry” event at Fisher Brewing Company on October 11th. Come kick back and enjoy a few adult beverages, delicious food truck bites all while raising money for our pantries! Mingle with other like-minded individuals and bring a bag of food for James E. Moss Elementary students to receive a free opportunity drawing ticket for awesome prizes like Deer Valley passes and a Fisher Brewery growler with beer! Learn more at packthepantry.uw.org!

Also, don’t forget that Volunteer Action Network (VAN) Week is almost upon us! From October 9th to the 13th United Way of Salt Lake will make a plethora of volunteering opportunities available for individuals who want to help their community. Just visit us at www.vanweek.uw.org. If you want to roll up your sleeves and put in some work to make things better, just click on “Volunteer Now” to see what you can do to help the families we serve!

Everyone needs food! Join me in growing an oasis or two to the food desert of South Salt Lake!

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