The Neighborhood Center program was created to bring CAP’s services closer to the residents of the areas being served. There are five centers in Salt Lake County. Emergency food pantries are located in each of these centers. If in need, each member of a family is provided with a three-day supply of food. Clients can receive six food orders in a twelve-month period, although in emergency situations this general rule can be extended. The goal of the program is to help feed families who are desperate for assistance, especially during the winter months.
Clients are served on a first-come, first-served basis, and no appointment is required. Their needs are determined by filling out an intake form, which clearly establishes what they need to help them become self-sufficient. The need for these services is rising with current welfare legislation and the rising cost of living in Utah. The cost of rent alone often exceeds the amount of money received on SSD or SSI (Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income). Many new and nontraditional families need assistance, including many from out of state. Assistance by volunteers in running each center is essential and greatly appreciated, since only 1 full time employee is placed at each center.
The five Centers render a tremendous amount of service. For example, from January 2008-December 2008, 149,484 family members were given 1,34,3456 meals. This represented 39,497 food orders and a total of 279,000 pounds of food distributed. The Utah Food Bank provides most of the food. Others donate also, including people who go door to door collecting turkeys for families to eat at Christmas and Thanksgiving. The program also has a large responsibility in providing referrals to CAP’s other services. Much of the funding for the program comes from the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the United Way.