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The City Journals

Grizzly Closet opens at Granite Park Jr. High

Dec 02, 2016 02:03PM ● By Aspen Perry

Grizzly Closet is ready to serve the local community. (Aspen Perry/City Journals)

By Aspen Perry | [email protected]

Granite Education Foundation teamed up with Granite Park Junior High to start Grizzly Closet food pantry lending support to the local community. 

On November 14, Granite Park Jr. High officially opened the doors of Grizzly Closet, which provides basic needs for the surrounding community by supplying items such as food, hygiene items, and clothing.  The majority of food and hygiene products were donated through the Granite Education Foundation with ongoing donations arriving through Utah Food Bank.

Previous to November, Granite Park Jr. High had a small food pantry set up with Granite Education Foundation and Utah Food Bank in an effort to better serve the food needs of the surrounding community. 

The Granite Education Foundation selected Granite Park as a potential location for a food bank based on location, community needs, and due to Granite Park already offering similar services. 

“[The food bank] seemed like a good fit based on what [Granite] district had in mind, and then of course, Principal Stirland, felt it would be a great opportunity for the school and community,” said Carmela Castaneda, Granite Park Community School director. 

Castaneda went on to explain one barrier they face is ensuring the community is aware Grizzly Closet is open and here for them whenever they are in need. 

“We haven’t set limits on how much anyone can take at this time, so far we have been operating on a honor system of you know your family and you know your situation, please take what you need,” Castaneda said. 

To assist in setting up Grizzly Closet, volunteers from Granite Credit Union arrived with additional shelving racks, food, warm clothes and plenty of helping hands. Volunteers helped restock shelves, set up racks, and organize clothing to give Grizzly Closet a store-like feel. 

Although Grizzly Closet is not set up to provide holiday meals at this time, one of the main goals is to have enough food options for community members in need to be able to make a complete meal from the food items they select.

Typically food pantries are able to meet this goal with additional support from corporate groups or individuals supplementing the food already donated through Utah Food Bank. Corporations or individuals interested in taking part in supplementing food items, may contact Granite Park for a list of food items that would better complete what is already in stock. Though given the recent contribution from Granite Credit Union, food items are not an immediate need at this time. 

“Right now I don’t know that we have any food needs, but we currently don’t have any winter boots or warm socks,” said Brody Mangum, AmeriCorps representative. 

Seasonal items such as coats are generally coordinated through United Way of Salt Lake. Though seasonal clothing items will not always be available, Grizzly Closet currently has a small selection of winter coats, hats, and gloves. 

Currently Castaneda is on leave, however she will serve as the main contact. Those interested in donating may contact her at [email protected] During Castaneda’s leave Mangum will oversee donations for Grizzly Closet and may be contacted at [email protected] For any additional questions contact Granite Park at 385-646-5174.  

Grizzly Closet will be open at Granite Park Jr. High, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-
4 p.m.