Different faiths come together to serve those in needMar 12, 2021 11:45AM ● By Becky Ginos
NORTH SALT LAKE—The Ladies of Charity Hope Center isn’t large in space – but what it lacks in size it makes up in heart. The food pantry is a charitable organization operated by members of the local Catholic Church and assists those in need no matter their religion or circumstances.
“The ministry started in 2003,” said Sister Germaine who oversees the pantry. “I came here in 2007. We’re committed to serve those who are in need of food.”
Originally, the pantry carried some small furniture and clothing, she said. “But we ran out of room. Now we just have food items, diapers when we have them. Our goal is to give away as much as possible. There is no requirement. If you need it, come and we’ll give it to you.”
The Ladies of Charity is an organization of lay women that started in 1617 by St. Vincent de Paul. The Daughters of Charity was later organized in 1633.
The Daughters of Charity Foundation provides the funds to operate the building at 74 South Orchard Drive in North Salt Lake. “Our goal is to become self-sufficient so we don’t need money from the Foundation,” said Germaine. “Presently we’re working on a five-year plan for a bigger building for a thrift store, but that costs money. We’re looking at groups for financial assistance but we have to prove that we need it so we’re trying to build our clientele.”
The Utah Food Bank supplies food to the pantry but local churches in the area also help out, she said. “We don’t carry fresh produce because we have no way of storing it. The LDS church and St. Olaf School does ‘Fill the Fridge’ every Wednesday. They bring milk, cheese, eggs, apples and other produce.”
“The fun part is two faiths in the community working together,” said Susie Gardner, a member of the Davis Communication Council who partners with the pantry. “Our job is to communicate the need and plug people in to help. We reached out to LDS wards and stakes and asked if they wanted to be a part of it. They said yes and offered to each take a week.”
Gardner said they work with Dick’s Market to get the food. “There is a standing order so a designated person picks it up on Wednesdays and the church pays for it. Then they take it down and meet with one of the great ladies. It’s neat. A lot of different people have a piece in the process. But the ladies at the pantry make it happen.”
There is a true sense of community with the partnership, she said. “We’ve never really paired up with Catholic and LDS neighbors in a combined effort. It’s a fun way to help. It’s a neat little COVID project to try and generate some good in a time of need.”
The pantry is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every third Monday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. They also accept donations from the public during those times.
“We’re asking clients to stay in their car and we’ll bring a box to them,” said Germaine. “Before COVID they could come in and shop but they can’t do that now. The first time they come we ask how many are in their family. If it’s a larger family we give them two boxes. We ask them if there’s anything special they need, otherwise the boxes are all the same.”
Germaine said the assistance is open to everyone. “People who need it, we’re here and it’s very easy. We’re an equal opportunity provider. We don’t ask what church or about finances. We only ask ‘do you need something?’”