St. Therese food pantry closes; services transferred to nearby rec center

Friday, Aug. 03, 2012

By Marie Mischel and Laura Vallejo

MIDVALE — The food pantry begun 30 years ago at Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish has closed. However, patrons are able to receive expanded services from the Utah Food Bank through the South County C.A.P. Food Pantry located in the Copperview Recreation Center, 8446 S. Harrison St. (300 West) in Midvale, only blocks from the church.

The Utah Food Bank operates the food pantry at the rec center five days a week, with hours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The parish food pantry was open only a few hours two days a week.

"It’s time for a change," said Father Martin Diaz, St. Therese of the Child Jesus pastor. "Our committee concluded that there was no need for our little program next to a larger program; our small operation couldn’t compete anymore."

The needs of the community have changed in the three decades since the parish food pantry was started, Fr. Diaz said. Back then, people in the parish "were on the cutting edge of ministry" when they began to collect and distribute food. At that time, it was part of the parish’s refugee assistance ministry, which served primarily Vietnamese refugees, he said.

Now, however, the parish has other needs; volunteers are already offering to organize an English as a Second Language program and Spanish-speaking GED, Fr. Diaz said.

In addition to extended hours, the South County C.A.P. Food Pantry offers produce, which wasn’t offered at the parish food pantry. This addition is welcomed by those who are served by the food pantry.

"I can get more food and produce for my family and I am not restrained to go just at certain days anymore," said Conchita Velez, a single mother of five who is frequently searching for ways to keep up with her kids’ nutritional needs.

For information about the South County CAP Food Pantry, call 801-255-3516. For information about the Utah Food Bank, call 211 for referrals and requirements.

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