Souza has been in charge of the GCFB for the last year. At eighteen hours a week, Souza is the Food Bank’s only paid employee. “It’s a lot of work to cram into eighteen hours,” she said.
Souza takes care of the all of the paperwork, including eligibility paperwork and intake paperwork for all the different organizations the Food Bank works with. She’s also responsible for all the cleaning and yard work at the Food Bank’s location at 56 North 200 East. “That’s why the yard looks so terrible right now,” she said, smiling.
The boxes that Souza puts together for families on the program average around seventy-five pounds each month. During the summer months, Souza said enrollment drops to around 125 families, but in the winter that number usually climbs due to the number of seasonal workers in the valley.
Though the work can be overwhelming at times, Souza is happy to be able to give back to the community. “My mom was a single mom, and we relied on the food bank,” she said. “It meant a lot to us. It’s nice to be able to give back from what we received when I was younger.”
“She’s good people,” one Food Bank client said. “I always hug her before I leave.”
“She’s very, very busy, but she’s always extremely nice,” another said.
Because the Food Bank’s funding is limited, Souza said they rely heavily on volunteers to help bridge that gap. Most of the volunteer help that comes through the doors are people who have been assigned community service hours. Souza said that, due to the volume of work at the Food Bank, they’re able to fulfill those hours pretty quickly. “There’s always work around here,” she said.
Despite already being swamped, Souza said that she wishes more people would apply for the help. “We have enough food for everyone,” she said. She said she believes that there are a lot more people in the county who qualify for help, but never apply. “Some people think we’re just here for homeless people or families with kids, but that’s not true,” she said.
Souza said that many of the food bank’s clients are elderly people and veterans. Even then, a lot of them refuse to take the food because they think someone else needs it more than they do. “They can’t go out and just get another job to get more income,” she said.
The Food Bank has partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture to hand out additional food to senior citizens through the Senior Food Box Program. However, Souza said there are only twenty spots on that list in Grand County.
In addition to the food received from the Utah Food Bank and the USDA, Souza said the Food Bank also receives monthly donations from City Market. The program, known as Grocery Rescue, helps keep food that is nearing its expiration date from being thrown in the garbage. Souza said that they receive between 500 and 800 pounds each month from that program.
Currently, the Food Bank is running on donations due to the shutdown of the Federal Government. “I keep calling my boss every day and asking if I’m supposed to come in,” she said. “But I don’t want to shut down.”
She said with the decrease in the amount of food stamps people are receiving, she expects to see more people turning to the Food Bank for help. “I have a feeling we're going to need extra support from the community.” she said.