Inside the Story: Thousands of hungry Utah kids being fed with help from new truck

Inside the Story: Thousands of hungry Utah kids being fed with help from new truck (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) A Salt Lake County school district just got some much needed help to feed students in need.

It's a $165,000 truck named "Rocky."

Rocky is the latest addition for the Utah Food Bank's Mobile Food Pantry program, bringing the number of trucks to four.

This one is sponsored by the Granite Education Foundation.

Dan Rascon caught up to the truck as it delivered food to students at Kearns Jr. High, where 30-percent of the student population are kids in need.

"It really helps," said Victoria Gonzalez, who is in 8th grade.

Multiple families live in her home.

"We do have little kids and they don't always like to eat crackers and stuff like that," she said. "They like oranges or apples or sweet stuff like that."

With this new truck, 18 more schools in the Granite School District are able to be served. That's about 16,000 additional families.

According to the Granite Education Foundation, 65-percent of students in the Granite School District are living at or below the poverty line.

"It's really touching and surprising that kids have those needs right here in Utah," said Brooke Porter with the Granite Education Foundation.

When the program started in 2014, there was only one truck for one school.

The next year, there were 33 schools, then 50. There are now 67 schools in the program.

"It's helpful, it's huge, and it's frightening," said Ginette Bott with the Utah Food Bank of the program.

According to Bott, the need is much greater than people think.

"One in six kids don't know where their next meal is coming from," she said. "It's a statistic that shouldn't be."

So the food that these trucks bring can be a life saver for some families.

"This just supplements enough that it's amazing help for us," said Brandi Brothers, a single mother.

The Utah Food Bank says since the program started, it has served about 485,000 students. It hits five different counties throughout the state.

For more about the Mobile Pantry Program, visit this website.