Filling the Nutrition Gap in Douglas

a person driving up to a mobile food pantry in Douglas, WY

The unexpected closure of Douglas’ food pantry in 2023 threatened the food security of many residents in the area.

To make sure people still got the nutrition they needed, local volunteers partnered with Food Bank of Wyoming to quickly organize a temporary solution.

“We had community meetings with the Food Bank to discuss the needs of the citizens here in Douglas,” said Felicia Smith, a longtime community volunteer. “We partnered with them to do three mobile pantries while we’re in the process of creating our own permanent food bank here.”

During the third and final mobile pantry event, which took place in early February, cars lined up early and neatly at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds as site volunteers unloaded palates containing some 336 food boxes for distribution. In addition to the food boxes, which contained fresh produce and shelf-stable goods from Food Bank of Wyoming, was about 500 pounds of elk meat donated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to hand out.

About 3,600 boxes of food are distributed monthly around the state through Food Bank of Wyoming’s 19 regular mobile pantries. In the case of Douglas, the pop-up effort filled an essential gap between the closure of the town’s previous pantry and the eventual opening of a new one.

a person driving up to a mobile food pantry in Douglas, WY

“It was determined that [the pantry was] serving about 285 families a month, and so without a food pantry in the community, no one was filling that need,” said Felicia.

Food Bank of Wyoming was already a partner with the old food pantry, and Felicia said it was in part thanks to the Food Bank’s initial efforts that Douglas was able to organize the temporary mobile pantry as well as develop longer-term food security solutions in the community.

“Before the first mobile pantry even happened, I had volunteers all over the place, and next thing you know, I had a board of directors developing to help start our food bank,” recalled Felicia.

Organizers for the new food pantry are going through the necessary steps; a potential building is in the works, and they hope to be up and running by later this spring or early summer.

“It is definitely our plan to partner with Food Bank of Wyoming,” said Felicia. “They’re very familiar with the needs of our community.”


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