Sanpete Pantry records exceptional donations
during holiday season
By Robert Green
MT. PLEASANT—Fundraising efforts at the Sanpete Food Pantry went very well over the Christmas Holiday, according to Marty McCain, fundraising director.
While the pantry continues to help about 400 families a month from going hungry, that number is expected to rise, as more and more Sanpete County families are having a tough time making ends meet, due to economic pains from COVID, McCain said.
A grassroots fundraising drive called “3 and Me” has been a great success in building partnerships with residents. The idea is to enable donors to pay whatever they can afford, up to four times a year. Then those donors are encouraged to sign up three of their friends so that donations keep rolling in.
So far, over 600 people have donated to “3 and Me,” McCain said. And he wants to keep the drive going until he reaches the lofty goal of 5000 donations.
One high-school aged girl became motivated to feed the needy and she text-blasted all her friends, and brought in almost a $1,000, McCain said. “That’s just from one student who caught the vision what we are trying to do,” he said.
The pantry’s new philosophy is to develop partners, not just donors, he said.
Musicians and singers from Snow College and Manti High School also chipped in to raise funds this holiday season. The musicians performed Christmas carols in front of Walmart and collected about $6000 in donations. McCain was especially thankful to them and to Walmart for their help in this endeavor.
McCain pointed out the Food Pantry is expected to grow as more people come under economic duress in the coming year. “We aren’t reaching all the people that need our help,” he said. There are people in the outer areas such as Indianola and down south that might not have the means to drive to Mt. Pleasant, he said.
The best way to donate is with money, McCain said. The pantry already receives a lot of food from their association with the Utah Food Bank. Cash donations are used to buy discounted food items in bulk and pay for operating expenses. The pantry also buys the specific food items that go into their Kid Packs, which are then given to schools.
With a budget that is projected to grow and more local people in need of food, the money can be used to pay for facilities and trucks to distribute the food, he said.
Spring City recently donated a check for $10,000 to the pantry; the generous contribution was one of the largest individual donations in recent memory, according to Jeff Jarman, executive director of the pantry. Spring City made the donation from funds it received from the CARES Act.
The Fairview Museum of History and Art also made a large donation to the pantry from funds it received from the popular Family Tree Festival. Museum officials gave over $1000 to the pantry.
Volunteer Rinda Thompson of Mt. Pleasant organized the festival this year and there were more lovely trees and bigger sales than usual, museum officials said. It is the policy of the museum to split the money gained from the festival with the Sanpete Food Pantry and this year was no exception.
Pantry director Jeff Jarman said, “People don’t understand that the need for the [Sanpete] Food Pantry is huge. We live in our little bubble and don’t realize…that we have jumped from serving 150 families a month to over 400!”
He also said that the Pantry is reaching out to more people in South Sanpete, so even more donations are deeply appreciated. If you’d like to donate to the pantry, or if you are in need of food assistance, visit www.sanpetepantry.org. The pantry is located at 1080 Blackhawk Blvd., Mt. Pleasant.