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Davis Journal

Utah Jazz pitches in to help feed those in need

Dec 03, 2022 08:29AM ● By Becky Ginos

BOUNTIFUL—Utah Jazz player Malik Beasley took time off the court on Tuesday to fill dinner bags at the Bountiful Community Food Pantry for those families who would otherwise go hungry. The Utah Jazz partnered with America First Credit Union (AFCU) to sort and pack food to help fight food insecurity.

“Lack of food is a big deal year-round but especially during the holidays,” said Utah Jazz President Jim Olson. “It can be stressful and to not have food is hard. America First Credit Union is as good as it gets to help provide food for those in need.”

It’s also great to have Malik here, he said. “To have a player participate shows what kind of players we have on the team.”

The event was a culmination of AFCU’s annual food drive where they collected more than $15,000 for food banks across Utah, Nevada and Arizona. AFCU also donated an additional $5,000 to the pantry.

“The pantry started 50 years ago in a closet at the church behind us,” said Executive Director Rebekah Anderson. “It’s come a long way. This year we’ve given out 2.3 million pounds of food. There’s been a huge increase in the need. In November we fed 147% more people than last year.”

A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck, she said. “So if something happens they’re not able to make ends meet. We’re feeding people who have never needed us before. There’s no way we could do this without the community.”

“Sixty-eight percent of our clientele are women who are heads of households,” said Jordan with the pantry. “That’s a lot of single mothers. We came up with the family dinner package that has food they can prepare quickly and feed their kids. It also has a recipe card. We’re feeding all the hungry families – it’s wonderful.”

“I want to be a good person and help feed people who need food and help in the community,” said Beasley. “I’ve been in this situation when I was living in Detroit. I didn’t always know what I was going to eat. So to do this means a lot.”

The Jazz usually has its own drive, he said. “But I’m happy to be here to help out. It’s not just about basketball to me, it’s the community as a whole. There’s a lot going on right now so we need to do our best to better everybody’s life whether they’re on the team or a fan. The Utah community does that. We have to stay warm and stick together. I’m blessed to be here – go Jazz.”

“Hunger doesn’t know ages or standing,” said AFCU Director of Public Relations, Dave Nellis. “There is a great need in the community. It’s heartwarming to serve. Many of the faces of those who receive this we’ll never know. Our philosophy is people helping people.”