Hunger In Wyoming
Food is a basic necessity of life. Most of us do not think twice about our weekly visits to a grocery store to provide for our families. We notice increased food costs, but we can adjust our family budget to still make ends meet. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many families and individuals in Laramie County. Lisa, a client of St. Joseph’s Food Pantry says,
Recent government statistics reveal a sad reality: 45% of students in Laramie County are eligible for the Free Lunch Program, 22% of children live with food insecurity, and zip code 82007 has the highest need in the State of Wyoming baed on poor health outcomes in the State. (Wyoming Health Matters)
The need for adequate and healthy food is not limited to single mothers or children. Many of our senior citizens have reduced buying power because Social Security benefits are not keeping pace with inflation. John, a veteran and retiree, visits the pantry each week to supplement what he can afford to purchase at the grocery store. John said,
In the 1980’s, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cheyenne started a small food pantry, housed in the basement of the parish office. Over the years, demand for assistance required the pantry be moved to a larger space on the church property. Ever-increasing need soon required another, more permanent move. The current location at 206 Van Lennen Avenue was purchased in 2016.
In 2019, the Pantry served a quarterly average of 885 households, representing 5,498 adults and 4,191 children, distributing 800 bags of food. We saw the need grow during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and have adjusted our procedures and distribution to keep up with demand.
We serve our clients Monday through Thursday. Currently, over 80 volunteers assist the Pantry with unloading food deliveries, picking up donations, filling boxes, welcoming clients at our convenient drive-through, managing volunteer teams, and distributing food.
We partner with Food Bank of Wyoming for the majority of the product we distribute. We also benefit from the generosity of several local businesses including Jo-Ed Produce, Safeway, Natural Grocers, Pepsi-Admiral Beverage, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Bimbo Bakeries, Panera Bread, Loaf ‘n Jug, Starbucks, Big Lots, other local food pantries, and Town and Country Supermarket Liquors through 4-H meat donations. Likewise, we receive support from community food drives, individual donations of food and financial resources, civic organizations, church, and other community groups.
St. Joseph’s Food Pantry is financially supported throughout donations by churches, businesses and private individuals. In 2019, we received over $80,000 to meet our expenses of feeding the hungry. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church contributes 3% of its annual general revenue, pays the utilities and maintenance costs as well as the salary and benefits of our part-time director.
If you can’t feed a hundred people then just feed one.-St. Mother Teresa