News & Views
A well informed community is an empowered one as well, so take a look at some of the latest coverage we’ve received below and help spread the word about all the amazing developments at the Afton Food Pantry.
What Does a Food Bank Really Need?
July 28, 2022
If you were asked what donations the local food bank needed the most what would you say?
So many people think they might know and may say non-perishables ( which is true) or beans ( which is only sometimes true). So to help you get a better understanding of what our Pantry needs- think about what you own family may need. Our pantry patrons are no different then anyone else but yet, at times, people may not have any clue what items are truly the most help to our food bank. Here's a little list of items that we are always in need of, items we rarely get, and items we could use more of:
*Spices- They NEVER get donated but who doesn't love the?
*Baking Supplies- Needed most at the holidays. Our patrons love cooking treats too!
*Strawberries- Potatoes- and Eggs are the top 3 favorite produce items. And yes, we can take fresh garden vegetables, farm fresh eggs, freezer items, meat and more.
*Vegetable Oil- Almost all boxes food requires butter or vegetable oil to make.
*Plastic Grocery Bags- Did you know this is our biggest need at times? Sure is.. Donate that drawer full we know you have.
*Honey- never ever donated but needed in the fall for those sick days.
* Top 5 always needed items- Cereal/Oatmeal, Soups, Canned met like tuna or chicken, Pasta, and PB & J
* Money- Monetary donations help us the MOST! We can purchase the items we need and can usually get a better discount through our many avenues.
For the full list of items you may not have thought of to donate to your local food bank check out the link below.
Grown with Love
July 9, 2022
Afton Food Pantry board members have been playing in the dirt for a good cause.
Last September the construction of a geodome near Afton's Civic Center started. The geodome was a partnership between The Lincoln County Commissioners, UW Extension Office, and would be constructed and utilized by LC Cent$ible Nutrition, Afton Food Pantry, and the LC 4-H Program.
Planting started a little later then expected thanks to Covid- 19 but after just 2 short months and lots of TLC given, the Afton Food Pantry was able to harvest it's first round of spinach that went out the very same night to patrons utilizing the Pantry.
The geodome is such a great way to grow upon the Healthy Food Pantry Project which focuses on getting families in need fresh and healthier food choices. Prior to the geodome, the Pantry has been purchasing those fresh food items for the local grocery stores. Sometimes grant money isn't available to fund this kind of project, so we thought the geodome was a great fit to ensure we could give out home grown items through the summer months at least.
We can truly say now more then ever that the Pantry has truly grown with love both in support from the community and also growing with love the produce we put so much work into day after day.
March 30, 2020
We know these are difficult times within our nation and our state. We know there is a lot of uncertainty for many individuals and families between loss of jobs and school closures. We want everyone to know that we are here to help during this time. However, the Pantry also has to do its part to help combat the virus without our community. Because of that, we will be changing open days and hours for the next month to try to limit the amount of people leaving their homes.
The Pantry will be open- April 9th 2020 5-7pm but CLOSED April 16th.
Then re-open April 23rd, 2020 5-7pm and then CLOSE April 30th.
We will operate as we have with a drive thru system as we have been doing. We ask all patrons to stay inside their vehicles and we will come to you. In an effort to limit both volunteers and patrons having to go out within the community we will then be closed April 16th. Because of the closure, the Pantry will give out 2 weeks worth of food to help aid all families during that. time. The goal is to still provide the same amount of food but prevent many people from having to come out frequently to receive it. We want to make sure anyone in need of food is able to receive it at this time. If you are elderly, we will deliver groceries to your doorstep so you do not have to come out of your homes. We know this is a difficult time for everyone, just know the Pantry is here to help.
Call or email us for any questions- 307.887.3663 firstname.lastname@example.org
First Lady Mrs. Gordon visits the Pantry
January 9, 2020
January 9th, 2020 was a monumental night for the Pantry. First Lady Mrs. Gordon read an article about the Pantry in the Wyoming Livestock Round-Up written by Hannah Bugas. In that article, we mentioned the growth of our small pantry in just 3 years time. Mrs. Gordon has made it her mission to focus on hunger in the state of Wyoming. Sadly, 1 in 6 children are not sure where their next meal is coming from. Mrs. Gordon has been busy touring the state to see all the amazing programs that are focused on fighting hunger within our state. After reading the article featuring us, her office reached out to see about her coming to tour the Pantry and also serve the Patrons that utilize the Pantry every Thursday night. " I never thought 3 years ago, that what we started from the ground up would be so monumental that it would attract the First Lady of Wyoming to come see it. That is the power of doing what you can to help one another in our community,"- said Sierra Mitchell- Pantry President and Founder. Mrs. Gordon joined us in making bins of food, getting produce, bread and meat ready for the night, and then served each and every patron that came to our doorstep that snowy Thursday evening. Mrs. Gordon truly has a passion for wanting to make a difference for all those that face food insecurity. Her mission is No Hunger Wyoming. Her goal is not re-invent the wheel but rather provide partnership between agencies working toward the same goal of fighting hunger within our state. We are so thankful and honored to have been visited by Mrs. Gordon as she tries to make a difference within our state. Be sure to check out her initiative and join our fight against hunger within our own community.
Together.. we can make a difference.
Geodome donation makes growing produce and education available for the Pantry
Nov 1, 2019
Donations come in all sorts of ways for the Afton Food Pantry. Last year brought the grant money possible to purchase healthy produce items. This year brought a different donation that will make fresh produce an option but also education into growing and harvesting your own produce available to all food pantry patrons. A string of phone calls and partnerships made this geodome effort possible. A grant became available from the University of Wyoming wanting to promote geodomes across the state of Wyoming. After our county commissioners said yes to the idea and agreed to offer not only a location but also would provide all the groundwork needed to get ready for a geodome, the Afton Food Pantry, Cent$ible Nutrition, and 4-H program came together to decide how to proceed to benefit each program .All 3 entities will benefit in one way or another from the geodome. For the Pantry, the opportunity to receive harvested food items is just one way we will benefit. "Don McAdams joined our board last year with strength in geodomes and growing produce. He will be a huge strength to our board as we prepare the geodome for springtime crops," said Sierra Mitchell Pantry President. She went onto say, " Grant money isn't always available so the Pantry wanted to make sure we could still offer fresh food items somehow, and the geodome is a perfect way to do that. " The goal will be to utilize such groups like the Swift Creek High School to prep the geodome, seed, and grow all the produce. We are also excited to offer classes about growing here in Star Valley and what produce works best, education how to set up a geodome or garden, and then education about maintaining it. " Its going to be an exciting time as we work together to make this geodome a success.We would like to say a special thank you to the County Commissioners for donating the land and ground work needed, Shelley Balls with Cent$ible Nutrition for gathering volunteers, and anyone else who came and helped set up the geodome. We look forward to the possibilities this geodome brings to benefit our community.
Fair animal donations making a difference
September 20, 2019
2019 4-H Livestock Sale brought forth 13 animals that will soon be filling the freezers are the Afton Food Pantry. Meat is so important for the individuals coming to the Pantry weekly,"- said Julie Deroche pantry Vice President.
Donors stepped forward to offer animal donations that were processed by the Pantry. In total, over $14,150.00 worth of animals were donated. " What a huge blessing to be able to give out meat weekly to anyone who comes our way,"- said Violet Sanderson- Pantry treasurer.
Because of the increase in animal donations year after year, the Pantry has now invested in 4 large commercial freezers to be able to keep on hand frozen meat, frozen vegetables, and bread. The Pantry also has a new 2 door fridge to allow for fresh produce, fresh eggs, and milk donations.
"It's been the most incredible 3 years of growth at the Food Pantry. To think we started with just a few hundred dollars and a few hundred cans to now. Being able to offer bread, meat, fresh produce, as well as canned goods weekly is truly the testament of a tremendous outpouring of love from the community. Everything through the Pantry is volunteer and donation. From the food items themselves to the volunteers including the 5 board members. We do it because we love it and we know without a doubt its making a difference in the valley we love. - said Sierra Mitchell- Pantry President.
We wish to thank the following businesses and individuals for their generous donation of a fair animal to the Pantry.
Amanda Wilford, Black Mountain Boosters, Black Mountain Rental, Canyon River Realty, Deann's Rental Properties, Mrs. Marti Halverson, Salt River Motors, and Westwood Curtis.
Healthy Food Program Underway At The Pantry
February 28, 2019
Healthy foods are now available weekly at the Afton Food Pantry thanks to so gracious donors and helping hands. The project was spearheaded by Shelley Balls with the UW Extension Cent$ible Nutrition program. Shelley was able to secure not just monetary donations that allow the pantry to purchase healthy items weekly, but also secured a commercial fridge that would be able to house all the fresh food items. We are excited to focus on a healthier food pantry knowing it will benefit families who receive it in so many different ways.
Did you know that currently 1 in 3 households have someone with Type 2 Diabetes and that 58% of households have a member with high blood pressure. These diseases can be managed, helped, and even reversed with proper nutrition. Other factors also come into play with poor nutrition. Loss of work as family members weakened immune systems can't fight off sickness, hard time recovering from surgeries or injuries that may have happened, and for children who are hungry, they have a hard time focusing and learning in school when their minds and bellies aren't properly fed.
The pantry is so excited to work toward bettering the foods we are able to give out knowing it will have an impact in so many ways. We couldn't do it without the donors who have donated to the Healthy Food Incentive.
Thank you to Valley Wide Coop for the donation of a commercial fridge, to Farm Credit Services, Land O' Lakes, Simplot, and Silver Star Communications who donated monetary funds to allow us to continue purchasing fresh and healthy food items.
The Pantry gets a fridge to welcome healthy food choices
Nov. 1st 2018
Thanks to a recent grant from Valley Wide Coop, the Afton Food Pantry will be receiving a glass door fridge which will aid in the ability to offer fresh and healthy food choices to local families. Currently the patrons utilizing the pantry haven't had the ability to be offered fresh and healthy food choices due to lack of proper storage. But now, thanks to Valley Wide Coop, we are able to offer another resource to local families. The goal is to have 3-4 different kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables each week at the Pantry as well as also purchasing such items such as milk, eggs, and low-fat dairy items. With this donation also comes the ability to take items from community gardens, local farms, gardeners, and private donors.
With access to healthy food options, families and communities grow as a result. A healthy diet affords people a better ability to ward off sickness, decreasing their need for health care, sick time, and improving their ability to function within society.
We are so thankful for such a generous donation from Valley Wide and we look forward to seeing our patrons lives change because of it.
If your looking for a donation, grant, or sponsorship check out
October 6th, 2018
After months of waiting, Afton Food Pantry was recently awarded a grant to purchase 2 large commercial freezers from the Wyoming Community Foundation Grant. "Receiving this grant will make a huge different at the Pantry," says Violet Sanderson from the Pantry board. She continues to say " we have struggled with turning down donations because of lack of freezer space. Now we won't have to which means we can offer more to our patrons in our community."
This grant couldn't have come at a better time as we received 13 4H fair animals to be processed and put into the Pantry's freezer. Now the Pantry won't have to worry about lack of space as these freezers will over double the amount of freezer space.
" What a huge impact these will make for our pantry but also for our community and those we serve weekly," says Sierra Mitchell- President of the Afton Food Pantry.
Thank you Wyoming Community Foundation for such a generous donation that will impact the many families we serve and help us serve many more in our community. We are very thankful.
Local Non-Profit Gives Out Over 4,800 Pounds of Food To the Community
March 5th, 2018
Valentines Day is about love in various ways. One way the community received love was through the efforts of the Afton Food Pantry. Partnered with Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies, the Afton Food Pantry agreed to take on hosting a mobile pantry in which extra food was given out to local families in need. The event took a great deal of organization and helping hands. With the help of Silver Star Communications and its wonder staff, the Afton Food Pantry was able to give out over 4,800 pounds of food from Cokeville- Alpine Wyoming. Over 150 families received 5 grocery bags of food including cereal, crackers, dinners, and fresh fruits and vegetables. We are truly grateful to Farm Credit Services for providing the grant to make this event happen and we couldn't have done it without the helping hands from Silver Star Communications.
From Idea to Reality: The Evolution of Afton Food Pantry
February 1st 2018
The Afton Food Bank used to preside within the Afton town hall. Run by the Chief of Police many years ago, the Afton Food Bank over the years consisted of a small back room with shelves and eventually fell into the hands of the staff to organize, maintain, and distribute. The Town Hall would offer patrons in need a set box of food once a month to help address their hunger issues. With a dream and a vision to see something bigger put into place for Afton and the patrons in need, Sierra Mitchell went to work with figuring out all the logistics needed to run a food bank after permission from the Town to take it over. After that things literally fell right into place as if it was meant to be all along.
With a building left emptied by the Search and Rescue Sierra went to the County Commissioners to ask about the possibility to take over a building to grow a much needed food bank. Without hesitation, we had a building and a chance to grow the dream. After that through many helping hands from advice, to logistics, to begging close friends to join in the task of joining a board and becoming a true 501 (c)(3) non profit everything just came together. " I literally just tried to grab anyone and everyone who saw the end goal and put them to work"- Sierra said. We utilized the local high school shop class who came the last week of school to build all the shelves for the Pantry, we had an eagle scout make his project to build us a wheelchair ramp, we had people come paint, we had businesses help us get organized. It was the largest group effort. We worked all summer long to gather food and learn all the government rules for food storage, food safety, and what was required to become a non-profit.
September 1st, 2016 we opened our doors to the public with the goal of offering food not just once a month but every single week. From that first opening night we have defiantly learned a lot and grown a lot and figured out all the kinks. But what an amazing response we had. Not just from the patrons who continue to come see us weekly but from the businesses, donors, and the largest response we have had is from volunteers.
"The journey of the Afton Food Pantry is purely magical. Everyone gave what they could to see it up and going. From the gift of a location and a building, to all the many helping hands who got the building ready, and to the ladies who joined forces to make a board and get our 501(c)(3) within just a few weeks of us opening. "It just warms my heart to the core. To see the dream become a reality and now being able to serve patrons every Thursday since we've opened is what its all about"- Sierra Mitchell
The Best Christmas Gift
December 23rd 2017
There wasn't a shortage of donations during Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Afton Food Pantry. The response was incredible as we asked the community to help us fill holiday dinner boxes. We wanted every family in need during the holiday season to receive the gift of a holiday dinner. 1st Bank in Afton stepped up to the plate and offered turkeys to fill every Christmas dinner box. With the amazing amount of donations that poured in, we gave out in total 94 complete Christmas dinners to local families. The boxes didn't just include the dinner and that's because of the spirit of the Star Valley residents. We received Christmas candy so those boxes with children had a little something extra, we received gingerbread house kits, we even had a group make homemade Christmas ornaments for every single box. The Christmas and giving spirit ran heavy for us at the Pantry during November and December when in total 135 holiday dinners made their way into local homes. What we do isn't possible without all the businesses and donors who have stepped up to make sure those families in need are helped during the holiday months as well.
Check out more Afton Food Pantry articles.