Food budget squeezing you? It’s easy to receive assistance from Iron County Care and Share – St George News

Food on shelves at the Iron County Care and Share pantry, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Iron County residents who struggle to make ends meet can now more easily supplement their food budget, thanks to the assistance of Iron County Care and Share and its pantry in Cedar City.

Donated food inside bins at the Iron County Care and Share pantry, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

Peggy Green, Iron County Care and Share director, told Cedar City News the rules recently have been relaxed regarding the amount of qualifying documentation that formerly was required.

“We used to have quite the laundry list of backup documents that needed to be present,” Green said. “And we really have been able to take that out of the picture.”

Receiving food assistance now is as simple as showing a photo ID and declaring that your monthly income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. Those figures currently range from $1,986 per month for a single individual to $6,885 per month for a family of eight. For a family of four, the amount is $4,085.

“It’s a matter of just looking at the income eligibility guidelines, and we have those on our website,” she added. “It’ll say, ‘How many people are in your house?’ and ‘What’s your total income?’

“It’s as easy as coming in and filling out a quick application, which you can do online before you even come in. One of the easiest qualifiers is that if you qualify for SNAP, you qualify for food here,” added Green in reference to the US Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Green said Iron County Care and Share’s staff of caseworkers will help recipients fill out forms, answer questions, make appointments and take care of other arrangements. Spanish language assistance is also available.

“We don’t ask for a lot of backup documentation,” Green added. “We’re just asking for your statement that you qualify and a signature. We try to make it as easy as possible.”

Green said the pantry currently hands out 65-70 boxes of food on a typical distribution day. Each box contains 70-100 pounds of food and is meant to supplement a family’s monthly food budget.

Green also said some recipients are eligible to receive an additional bag of food in between their monthly boxes.

“We do adjust boxes and bags by family size,” Green added. “There are all types of families in Iron County and Cedar City. So whether you have one person in your house or you have 18 people in your house, we will adjust what you get to make sure you have what you need.”

Food on shelves at the Iron County Care and Share pantry, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

“We also have add-ons to the boxes,” she said, noting that such extra items typically include diapers, laundry detergent and other household goods.

“Another important thing to note is that seniors can get an additional box on top of the monthly one,” Green said. “So, seniors are eligible for more food, which right now, we are finding is such a great need. We have seniors coming in on a daily basis, saying, ‘I went to the grocery store and filled up my cart but I couldn’t check out.’

“We have so many people on fixed incomes. As rents just keep increasing, then their ability to take care of themselves is being reduced. We’re really mindful of that.”

Last year, Iron County Care and Share provided food assistance to more than 1,500 different households within the community, Green noted.

Although making an appointment is recommended, first-time customers are welcome to walk in without an appointment during the pantry’s regular hours, Monday through Thursday between 9 am and 2:30 pm The facility is located at 222 W. 900 North, Cedar City. The pantry’s phone number is 435-586-4962.

Iron County Care and Share is a private, nonprofit entity that also operates an emergency temporary shelter and offers a range of other community support services. For more information, visit the organization’s website

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