Pantry reports ‘shoestring’ budget to county commission
By James Tilson
MANTI—The leaders of the Sanpete Pantry came back to the county commission a second time to update them on the status of their fundraising efforts.
“We are on a shoestring right now,” said Pantry president Jeff Jarman. “We need any help we can get.”
Jarman and Sean Kearney appeared before the commission last month, and were advised to go to the mayors in Sanpete County to gauge their interest.
Jarman told the commission the mayors were interested in helping, and they came back to the commission to see if the county would be able to help any more than they already were.
“We operate with about 90 percent volunteers,” said Jarman. “And we are getting fewer and fewer all the time.” Jarman listed the major events that Pantry runs each year for fund-raising: The Drive 4 Food golf tournament, the ATV ride, multiple 10K runs and a bowling tournament.
“All of our events take volunteers to run,” he said. “And our volunteers are burning out; they are mostly retirees. Some of them are in their eighth or ninth year of doing this. We are pushing this so much, so we can give our volunteers a break, and not fundraise so hard.”
Commissioner Scott Bartholomew reminded the Pantry the county already contributed quite a bit to the Pantry. “The County provides a building for Pantry, with a $1 per year lease, and the building is insured by the county, and we pay the utilities as well. In Fayette, persons have the ability to pay a portion of their bill to the Pantry. Our county budget is just as tight as everyone else’s.”
Commissioner Ed Sunderland asked the Pantry if they received any money from the state. Kearney listed two programs run by the state: The Emergency Food Network and Qualified Emergency Food Assistance Fund and one run by the Six County Area Association of Governments, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Altogether, those programs bring in $17,500 per year to the Pantry. “That’s less than what the Drive 4 Food brings in,” Kearney said.
In the end, the Pantry and the commission agreed the Pantry would have to return in the fall when the commissioners were contemplating the new budget. “Plain and simple, our budget is set. We can’t do anything until this fall,” the commissioners said.