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The City Journals

South Jordan church holds pop-up food bank for community

May 04, 2020 01:29PM ● By Libby Allnatt

Boxes of food items are pictured at the pop-up food bank at Missio Dei Community - South Jordan. More than 70 vehicles were at the event. (Courtesy of Bobby Sharp)

By Libby Allnatt | [email protected] 

In a time of uncertainty and great need, a South Jordan church is giving back to the community. 

Missio Dei Community - South Jordan held a pop-up food bank on March 22 that helped feed more than 70 families. Volunteers assembled boxes containing a variety of food and distributed them to families who came by. 

“My wife and I were thinking, ‘There are a lot of kids staying at home. So, what do they eat during the day?’” said Bobby Sharp, with the Missio leadership team. “Lunch meat to make sandwiches, condiments, cereal, milk, fruit, vegetables—so, things that kids would eat. Ramen, things like that.” 

He said there were about nine volunteers. 

“We had a rhythm going,” he said. “We had someone directing traffic into the parking lot, telling them where to go, saying, ‘Open your trunk, we’ll put the food in there.’”

Sharp said he got the idea for a pop-up food bank after seeing the wide reach of another food bank in the valley about a month ago. 

“There were a lot of families from Herriman, South Jordan, Riverton,” he said. “This was near West Valley. I realized people were driving from afar, from my own community to West Valley to get some food. There was a huge need in my own community for this service. I started talking to Pastor Tony; he said, ‘I’m on board 100%.’ Then coronavirus hit, and I’m like, ‘OK, now’s the time to do it.’”

Tony Simoncini said there were about 70 vehicles at the pop-up food bank, with some vehicles containing multiple families. 

Simoncini said it’s important to be aware there’s many people with needs and many ways to reach out and help your neighbors. 

“Paying attention and looking around, you’re seeing a lot,” he said. “We’ve had some people that have started a post on their own social media then said, ‘Hey, this is a place where if you have a need, let me know.’” 

Utahns have been adjusting to the impact of, a pandemic that has led to closed schools, limited business operations and economic uncertainty. 

With large gatherings limited in order to slow the spread of the virus, Missio livestreams services through Facebook Live. Simoncini said a recent Sunday service had more than 1,000 viewers. The church is also collecting clothing for individuals from the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake currently staying at the Marv Jenson Recreation Center..Sharp said the church also plans to start a Facebook page called Missio Cares with a goal of directly helping the community. 

“It’s not going to just be about the food drive; it’s a place where people can post their needs to a community,” he said. 

The positive impacts of the pop-up food bank were felt by the community instantly. 

Sharp tells the story of a visitor who received a box with the exact items she had been needing. 

“She reached out and said, ‘Thank you, I was praying for non-dairy milk and shampoo,’ and that’s exactly what was in her box,” he said. “We only had a couple bottles of shampoo and a couple cartons of milk. Her box happened to have both of those.”

Simoncini planned another pop-up food bank for April 18. He advises people to reach out to their neighbors to see how they are doing. 

“It’s a time for us to be neighbors to one another,” he said.