Tabitha's Way Local Food Pantry was founded in June 2010 by Wendy & Jody Osborne, after Wendy felt inspired to help the food insecure in her local community of South Utah County. Wendy started her pantry in a small location on the backside of the business complex next to Stone Drug in Spanish Fork. Then in 2012, Tabitha’s Way moved into a larger space on Main Street in Spanish Fork to accommodate the growing needs of the community. In 2016, Tabitha’s Way was able to purchase and renovate a building located at 45 East 100 North in Spanish Fork, which became our new permanent home in March 2018. Today our Spanish Fork location provides food assistance to the food insecure in a service area of Springville to Santaquin.
After meeting with the Utah Food Bank and hearing that there was not a food pantry in North Utah County, Michael Carter and Al Switzler co-founded Tabitha's Way Local Food Pantry in American Fork, Utah, in July 2016. Tabitha's Way Local Food Pantry, located at 920 East State Road in American Fork, provides food assistance to the food insecure in a service area of Lindon to Cedar Fort.
Who Is Tabitha?
Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry was founded in Spanish Fork, Utah, by Wendy & Jody Osborne in June of 2010 and was inspired from a biblical scripture found in the book of Acts 9:36-41. The scripture depicts the story of a woman named Tabitha, who provided food and clothing to the poor and needy. At her death, many mourned for Tabitha because of the charity she offered so many in her community. The Apostle Peter was moved by the affection of those mourning her. Peter then prayed over Tabitha and she was raised from the dead. Pictures depicting this story can be found at each of our pantry locations. "Tabitha's Way" is a metaphor reminding us all to serve our community with love, just as Tabitha served hers.
Who Receives Food Assistance?
Hungry people come from all walks of life; most are our neighbors who have fallen on tough times and need temporary food assistance. National studies show that 63% of people in the US have zero savings. An additional 13% have less than $1000 in savings. When disaster strikes, such as a job loss, medical bills, a car accident, divorce, disability, the death of a spouse, etc., these people often have to choose between housing, medical care, paying for utilities, or purchasing food. According to Feeding America an estimated 100,000 individuals in Utah County are facing food insecurity; 1 in 5 children are hungry and lack proper nutrition.
Food insecurity in adults reduces physical and mental health well-being along with economic productivity. Chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems, anxiety and depression have been linked to adult hunger.
The largest population that our pantry serves is children - on average about 50%. The impact of hunger upon children is severe. Hunger delays development, affecting children on cognitive, social and emotional levels. This includes reading, attention, memory and problem-solving skills. Children who are hungry are more likely to perform poorly academically and fall behind their peers. Once behind in school, other risk factors increase exponentially. These risks include dropping out of school, criminal behaviors, substance abuse, early teen pregnancy, and suicide.
Our Vision of Establishing No Hunger Zones
Tabitha’s Way has been successfully operating for over eight years, providing food assistance and strengthening our communities by fighting the adverse effects of hunger and food insecurity. As Utah County continues to see unprecedented growth, we continue to distribute food to more families and individuals each year.
Tabitha’s Way is taking an innovative approach to providing food assistance by encouraging local communities to take ownership of the problem of hunger by creating "No Hunger Zones." A "No Hunger Zone" exists when a community, as a whole, takes emotional and financial responsibility to proactively resolve food insecurity for a minimum of 3 consecutive years.
Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry hopes to share this vision and intellectual proprietary information with our colleagues and other communities to help spread the No Hunger Zone concept.