pantry, Sub for Santa offer help in tough times
By Jami Elzinga
December 10, 2008 | LOGAN -- Rising gas prices, food
shortages, and employers cutting back on the hours allotted
for employees are all factors affecting Cache Valley
as the rest of the United States.
There are many venues of help available to those who
are in need this time of year. For some, the problem
is finding out where to go to get that help. Standing
in the line in front of the Cache Valley Food Pantry,
patrons such as Lisette and the Kusbachs had no clue
what programs were available to assist them.
This was Lisette's first visit to the food pantry
because her husband's hours were cut at work. She and
her five kids, ages 12, 9, 8, 6, and 4, are hoping this
will help them out until her husband's hours are restored
again. Lisette is hoping it will take only a month or
two. When asked about any other services she was using
to help out her family during this time, she didn't
know there was anything else she could use.
The Kusbachs are in a similar situation. Originally
from the Czech Republic, they have been in the US for
about three or four years, depending on which family
member you talk to. Father and son were both present
to get supplies for their family.
This is the second year they have been partaking from
the food pantry because the father, Tony Kusbach, is
studying at USU to get his Ph.D. His son is also a student
at USU. The family also includes his wife and another
son, age 14, all surviving off of Kusbach's scholarship,
and after his tuition of $6,000 per semester is paid
there is little money left.
Kusbach is only able to work 20 hours per week because
of the university's regulations. His wife's visa won't
allow her to work in the states. The family is able
to come two times a month, based on regulations set
by the food pantry. You must also be able to prove income
and residency to receive aid from the pantry as well.
The numbers are rising compared to last year. Already
the number of people using the food pantry is growing.
Matt Whitaker, who is been the director for the past
six years of the Cache Community Food Pantry reports
seeing at least a third more families in need over last
year's numbers. Last year he said there were approximately
85 - 100 people, and this year there are about 120-130
Connie Bodily, director of the Sub for Santa program,
also reported an increase in numbers of those needing
assistance this holiday season. Last year the program
had about 575 that were being helped. This year they
have approximately 730 who have applied. They are giving
services to about 500 of those, with some still waiting
for the answer that they will be helped.
Those that are turned away don't meet the qualifications
of the program, she said. To qualify for Sub for Santa,
applicants must have a valid Utah ID, be a resident
of Utah, have at least one child over the age of 18
months of age, and meet income guidelines (125 percent
of the federal poverty level, and be able to provide
Once they are accepted into the program for aid, they
are allowed to be in it for five years. They can be
on it for three consecutive years and then take a year
off. After the year off they can finish the last two.
"It's meant to be a temporary help, not a permanent
solution," Bodily said.
There is still hope out there for some. Those that
know of any other assistance or aid reach out to those
programs for help.
Angie Duncombe is one person that they can go to.
Duncombe runs a program out of The Herald Journal
that is similar to Sub for Santa. She helps out those
who do not meet the qualifications for the Sub for Santa
This will be the fourth or fifth year for Angie. She
first started doing this because people would call the
newspaper asking how they could help out families or
seeking assistance for themselves. Since the Sub for
Santa program stops running a couple weeks before Christmas,
Duncombe decided she would start up her own. It goes
until 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve; that way there is still
time to have the families pick up their things as well
as the donations to be dropped off. It is all done anonymously.
These programs run off private funding and donations.
The Sub for Santa program has a few different sponsors,
but their main sponsors are ShopKo and Lee's Marketplace.
Other businesses like Nate and Andy's or the Sports
Academy help to contribute, and businesses also have
the chance to pick a name off a tree anywhere in Cache
Valley to sponsor and buy gifts for.
It was a consensus among all those at the food pantry
that this is a great opportunity to help out those in
Claudia, a local resident, said "If you need it, come
fill out an application. If you qualify you might as
well take advantage of it. I wouldn't be able to survive
Kusbach hopes this will inform other foreign students
that there is extra help available. It cuts back about
1/3 of the cost of food expenses, and allows them to
save that money for monthly bills.
If you have any questions or would like to help out
feel free to contact any of these agencies to get more
Cache Valley Food Pantry -- 359 S. Main, Logan
Sub for Santa -- PO Box 4603, Logan
Angie Duncombe -- 75 W. 300 North, Logan