Cars began lining up early behind White Mountain Mall in Rock Springs on a sunny Saturday morning and sat idling while more than 40 volunteers kept busy organizing food boxes, sorting produce, directing traffic, and registering people. Soon, the monthly Rock Springs Mobile Pantry would begin.
Clients waiting in line were quick to share smiles and waves, including Mauriel and Jesse. Mauriel worked in the oil field until he became disabled. Jesse is retired. Both struggle to make ends meet on their fixed incomes. The monthly food boxes from the mobile pantry are an immense help to stretch their budget, they said, adding that they also pick up an extra box to help an older couple who live nearby but lack the mobility to attend the mobile pantry.
Also in line was LeRoy, who arrived early to make sure he would be able to get food for his brother, who is disabled and a Veteran, and his adult children who are also disabled. LeRoy said he appreciates resources like this to help them out. “I may not be able to provide financially for my family, but I can wait in line to make sure they have food in the house,” he shared.
Rock Springs Mobile Pantry was one of the first Food Bank of Wyoming mobile pantries to come online during the pandemic. Initially operated by the County Emergency Manager at the fairgrounds, it moved to White Mountain Mall in 2022 with the help of the mall’s general manager, Debbie Orr. Orr has made the monthly mobile pantry a community event by tapping into the kindness and generosity of the Rock Springs community: the Murdoch’s location at the mall recycles leftover cardboard and pallets, and the Unknown Saints Riders’ Club comes every month to help volunteer.
“I am only three paychecks away from being in this line,” shared one volunteer. “I understand how easy it is to fall short and am grateful to be able to help others.”
That sentiment was shared among all the volunteers at Rock Springs Mobile Pantry, including a family who had needed food assistance not long ago following a job loss. “We were so grateful when my husband found a new job and we were able to afford the family food budget again,” shared the matriarch of the family. “That is why we come every month — it’s a way for us to pay back the kindness of others that we received when we needed it.”
Community support helps make mobile pantries and all of Food Bank of Wyoming’s programming possible. Please consider donating today. Thank you!