‘It’s just the right thing to do’: 3 groups join forces to distribute food boxes at upcoming event

Utah Food Bank truck, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah Food Bank, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Southern Utah Pacific Islander Coalition, in partnership with the Utah Food Bank and Camping World Cares, is holding a food drive event Saturday at the Red Cliffs Mall to distribute food boxes to families in need.

In this 2019 file photo, volunteers aid in bagging and distributing food for those in need at the new site of Utah Food Bank mobile pantry set up in the parking lot of the old Nisson grocery store in Washington City, Utah, April 25, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The drive is being held as part of a COVID-19 Racial Equality and Inclusion grant that the coalition received to address three critical needs: rental assistance, internet assistance and food scarcity. Southern Utah Pacific Islander Coalition co-founder Susi Lafaele said food staples will be provided to anyone who may be in need.

“Everybody is struggling right now,” she said, adding that this year has hit everyone hard but particularly ethnic and minority communities, many of whom are considered “our essential workers,” she said.

Boxes will include canned meats, pears, green beans and corn, as well as quick oats, noodles and other pantry essentials.

Lafaele said that there will also be recipes included to help make healthy and simple meals from the items.

Additionally Camping World Cares will be helping to provide hams or turkeys.

Camping World’s Charles Gunter said the whole idea behind Camping World Cares is to help people in the local community. They wanted to partner with the coalition in this effort to help as many families as possible.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Gunter said. “Since day one, we’ve always tried to help as many people as we can along the way. That’s just living a full life.”

The drive will take place Saturday from 9-10:30 a.m. while supplies last at the Red Cliffs Mall parking lot, 1770 Red Cliffs Drive in St. George.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the food drive will be contactless. Those wanting a food box will come in their vehicle, open their trunks or doors and a volunteer will place the food in the vehicle. All volunteers will be wearing masks and other necessary personal protective equipment.

While nobody will be turned away, for the purposes of the grant, Lafaele said they will be collecting some basic personal information such as zip code and ethnicity.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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