Banding Together to Feed Salt Lake’s Homeless
Zions Bank Teams With Catholic Community Services
One evening each month around 20 Zions Bank employees gather at St. Vincent de Paul’s dining hall for the Zions’ Evening Meal Program. Since 2012, Zions Bank employees have contributed approximately 300 hours per year to the dining hall run by Catholic Community Services.
In October, Zions’ Marketing and Communications department stepped up to serve. They made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fed more than 500 meals to Salt Lake City’s hungry community members.
“The monthly Zions’ Evening Meal Program is just one more way that Zions Bank and its employees support the local community,” says Jamie Issowits, coordinator of Zions’ program.
St. Vincent’s is located at 437 W. 200 South in Salt Lake City and has been in operation since 1967. According to Catholic Community Services, the facility provides the only regular midday and evening meal service in Salt Lake County.
St. Vincent’s welcomes anyone, regardless of age, religion or personal circumstance, and aims to help as many individuals as possible. It relies on daily volunteers to serve an average of 300,000 meals, 365 days a year.
To serve such a large volume of people, Catholic Community Services routinely receives donations from the Utah Food Bank, private donors and the Grocery Rescue — a program for Utah retailers to donate food near its expiration date to the Utah Food Bank. Catholic Community Services must have enough food for about 600 people per meal service.
“There are definitely particular challenges to running homeless services programs, and there is no way we could do it without the support of our community,” says Danielle Stamos, director of public relations and marketing for Catholic Community Services of Utah. “Volunteering and donating are the most impactful and straightforward ways people can help.”
Stamos encourages people to educate themselves and raise awareness about the issues those experiencing homelessness face, such as shortages in low-income housing and lack of medical treatment availability.
“Those experiencing homelessness are just like everyone else but have challenges that have become insurmountable,” Stamos says. “There is hope, because any one can help and one hand up could make all the difference in someone’s life.”
Catholic Community Services welcomes donations such as food, socks, underwear and other hygiene items. Visit the Catholic Community Services website for a full list of needs.
Interested volunteers age 13 and older can email Catholic Community Services volunteer coordinator Monica Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org.