Entrada and Utah Food Bank partnership provides food for school communityJun 15, 2020 12:13PM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
For the first time, Claudia Pellegaud went to her school’s pantry in May to get extra food for her family.
“My husband is working very little because of the coronavirus and my children are at home more since they don’t go to school so this will help,” she said.
The food pantry at Entrada High School, 825 E. 9085 South, typically provides food to about 260 children under the age of 18, which is equivalent of 50 families, said Lillian Dick, who works with agency relations in the Utah Food Bank.
“At Entrada, we provide a hand up, not out,” Dick said. “We’re able to help families make a meal and fill gaps at their home, not fill their pantry.”
The Utah Food Bank delivers food as the school pantry supplies run low—typically two or three pallets of non-perishable items stacked 4.5 feet high. The Utah Food Bank’s food supply in the warehouse usually turns over every three days, and with more than 80 school partners across the state, schools typically receive food for their communities twice per month, she said.
Entrada Adult Education Program Manager Mark Mataya appreciates the help.
“So many of our students suffer from various hardships,” he said. “If we can help remove hunger from their lives, then they have a better chance of having academic success.”
Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, an Entrada staff member provides an assortment of items in a paper bag or box, such as peanut butter, tuna, dried or canned fruit, tortilla chips, cereal, granola bars and beef jerky. Food pick-up will continue through the summer, Mataya said.
The partnership between Entrada and the Utah Food Bank began in November 2018.
“The Utah Food Bank people and one of our people were in a community meeting. The Utah Food Bank came and visited us. It was quickly obvious to me that they were an excellent organization that wanted to help people and I was sold on working with them right then and there,” he said. “We never know what our students’ struggles are, but, for example, if they’re having a tough time paying the bills and if we can provide some food, then maybe that will mean they can pay the electrical bill. Whatever the case, their mood lightens and their facial expressions of relief and smiles makes me so happy that we can help.”
Entrada, Canyons School District’s high school that offers adults educational opportunities to earn a high school diploma, prepare to take the GED test or improve educational skills like math, reading and writing, has about 55% of its students between the ages of 16 to 18, who “didn’t feel they needed a diploma to work while the economy was good,” Mataya said. “Now, we’re helping all our students get an education, gain work force skills and training and earn their high school diploma.”
The school also has received food donations from other groups, such as Grace Community Bible Church, which they coordinate through Canyons Education Foundation.
“We’re all about community, whoever needs food and whoever can help provide items for them, we’re grateful,” Mataya said.