Food and Care Coalition battles homelessness by providing relief, education

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Provo’s Food and Care Coalition provides food, housing and education to those in need as well as helps clients successfully transition from homelessness back into the community.

Anna Stopper, a Food and Care Coalition volunteer manager, believes the organization has been able to provide a service that is incredibly valuable for many individuals in Provo.

“I really found value here at the Food and Care, being able to serve the community that is sometimes forgotten,” Stopper said.

According to Executive Director Brent Crane, the organization, which was formed in 1988, has grown from a small operation that provided a couple of dozen sack lunches to one of the most proactive homeless resource centers in Utah County.

The Food and Care Coalition provides a variety of different services, including hygiene products, laundry, dental and mental health services; however, the meal program is the main service offered, according to Crane.

“The meal program provides three meals a day to anyone who is in need of a meal — regardless of their situation,” Stopper said.

The organization has over 15,000 volunteer hours dedicated to the food program each year. In 2022, the Food and Care Coalition helped provide over 100,000 meals to those in need.

The organization also offers transitional and permanent housing for its clients who are looking for ways to get back on their feet.

“The focus is always a transition plan,” Crane said. “How can we help them overcome barriers? How can we help them transition back into the community successfully?”

According to Crane, transitional housing in Food and Care has about a 65% success rate compared to the 30% average across the state, and permanent housing has around a 90% success rate, but is the most costly option.

Crane attributes this success to the wraparound services and comfortable environment they provide.

The Food and Care Coalition also provides a place for clients to refocus on their lives and educate themselves on what they need to sustain themselves, according to Stopper.

“It’s a space that they’re able to really focus on themselves, focus on what they want and need out of life and then be able to successfully do so,” Stopper said.

Although Crane doesn’t believe homelessness will ever end in Provo, he believes a willingness to serve others will help mitigate its effects on the community.

“We have a responsibility and a duty to one another, and so I think as long as we don’t lose sight of that, then there’s always going to be work and progress made on the homeless front,” Crane said.

As the Food and Care Coalition continues to help those in need, they are dedicated to helping clients obtain the tools they need to successfully sustain themselves as they transition back into the community.

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