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Murray Children's Pantry celebrates first anniversary after opening during pandemic

Jim Brass looks over the food inventory during the opening of the Murray Children's Pantry in Murray on Saturday, June 26, 2021. A handful of concerned Murray neighbors started the pantry after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when they realized numerous children were going hungry in their community.

Jim Brass looks over the food inventory during the opening of the Murray Children's Pantry in Murray on Saturday, June 26, 2021. A handful of concerned Murray neighbors started the pantry after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when they realized numerous children were going hungry in their community. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)


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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

MURRAY — When the pandemic hit and schools closed, community members opened the Murray Children's Pantry to continue providing meals to kids who might otherwise go without.

On Saturday, the pantry celebrated its first anniversary with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and food drive. "It's been amazingly successful," pantry president Jim Brass said of the food drive.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony comes a year late after COVID-19 restrictions prevented large gatherings, but now that restrictions are lifting, it was time to celebrate.

The pantry has opened its doors to more than just children in its first year. So far it has teamed up with Twin Peaks Elementary School and Woodstock Elementary School and provides meals to the Murray Senior Center.

"If you need food, come and get food," Brass said. "We don't ask questions."

While the pantry started because of the COVID-19 pandemic's potential impact on Murray children, Brass said there are no plans to stop even after the pandemic is over.

"The need is growing," he said. "We'll be here as long as we have food to give out and the support of the community."

Food insecurity increased across the nation during the pandemic. In February 2020, 1 in 12 Utah households faced food insecurity. That number doubled to 1 in 6 in June of last year.

This April, Brass told KSL TV that the pantry averages about 4,000 meals per month.

Other organizations, like Kids Eat, provide meals for most of the schools in Murray, but Brass said Murray Children's Pantry has helped fill in the gaps by servicing Granite School District and other "people who get missed."

The pantry is open every Tuesday 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. and the third Saturday of every month 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The pantry is also available by appointment on its website.

"If you need food, call us," Brass said. "Don't be hungry."

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