New Catholic Community Services warehouse will help fight childhood hunger

Monday , September 11, 2017 - 5:15 AM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah (CCS) broke ground this week on a new warehouse expected to triple the agency’s food storage capacity in Ogden.

The ceremony took place at the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank at 2504 F Ave. in Ogden.

“This new warehouse will allow us to collect and distribute more food to the individuals and families experiencing hunger in our community,” said Maresha Bosgieter, director of Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah.

“Over half of those we serve are children we help through our Bridging the Gap program, which is a mobile pantry that delivers groceries to low-income elementary schools each week,” she said.

RELATED: Childhood hunger in N. Utah doesn't end when schools starts

Each year, the food bank distributes 2.5 million pounds of food to those in need, a CCS news release says. However, the organization hasn’t been able to distribute it efficiently because of limited warehouse space, Bosgieter said.

“During the holidays, we’ve had to use the bishop’s storehouse or Associated Foods,” she said, specifically referring to holiday turkeys donated to CCS.

When the Utah Food Bank offered extra pallets of food the agency didn’t have room to store, Bosgieter said officials had to partner with Business Depot Ogden to use unrented storage space there.

At times, she said the agency has given away food more quickly than usual to clear space, such as after the Boy Scout or mail carrier food drives.

On other occasions, food that couldn’t be stored was turned away, she said.

“It’s just a space issue,” Bosgieter said. “Right now, every closet down the hall is full of something. Right now, we don’t have any space. It tends to look a little junky because we don’t have any place to put things. It’s not as clean and organized as we would like it to be sometimes.”

While the current warehouse is about 5,000 square feet between three rooms, the new facility will bring in an additional 12,000 square feet, Bosgieter said.

At a bare minimum, Bosgieter said the new warehouse will hold another 400,000 to 500,000 pounds of food. Current storage space allows for about 250,000 pounds of food.

Those behind the new facility said it will help eliminate childhood hunger experienced by one in five Utah children.

RELATED: Donations needed for upcoming pantry pack program in Weber County

“We want to grow Bridging the Gap,” Bosguieter said about a program that serves school children. Plans are to expand the program to more than the seven schools now served through Bridging the Gap and to also expand to more than the five schools now served through pantry packs, she said. 

“Right now, we can only have a month’s worth of food at any one time,” Bosgieter said. Sometimes when we need to order food, it could be on back order and we have to scramble to find food.”

Inside the new warehouse will be a larger volunteer area than what currently is available, Bosgieter said. “Now, it is a teeny little place,” she said. “It is very difficult. People are in the way of warehouse staff as they are doing their volunteer work.”

The new facility will allow for more room for assembling pantry packs and other items, she said.

The current warehouse will stay operational as it is equipped with a semi unloading doc and is closer to the road, Bosgieter said.

The new warehouse is made possible by donations and fundraising, Bosgieter said.

So far, the agency has raised $1.3 million of its $1.5 million goal, she said.

The first $1 million was provided by the ALSAM Foundation, Bosgieter said. The Brent and Ann Wilson Foundation and the family of Bob Steiner also gave large amounts.

“We will be doing ongoing frundraising for new equipment that will be needed for the new warehouse,” said Danielle Stamos, director of public relations and marketing for Catholic Community Services of Utah

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.

×