The 2020 Utah Economic & Energy Summit, which was held on Oct. 26, took on several iterations this year and, due to COVID-19, was moved from May to October. When the Summit was required to shift from a hybrid in-person and virtual conference to a completely virtual event on Oct. 23, organizers found themselves with approximately 900 meals waiting for chefs at The Grand America Hotel to prepare.

As Gov. Herbert’s overarching directive on Oct. 23 was for the Summit to ‘make lemonade out of lemons,’ arrangements were made over the weekend to donate the meals to Utah Community Action, a nationally recognized provider of comprehensive services for income-eligible families.

“It’s great to know so many well-deserving families benefited this week from the last-minute change in plans for the Summit,” said Val Hale, executive director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “We’re so happy that the donation of food — some already prepared and some ready to cook and serve — made a meaningful difference in the lives of many Utahns.”

In addition to their regular seven-to-10 day supply of food, Utah Community Action food pantry clients also received ribs, cheesecake, mixed array of fresh fruits and vegetables, and much more courtesy of The Grand America Hotel and Summit organizers.

“This cold October day was made much brighter for our food pantry clients thanks to this donation of prepared and fresh food,” said Patrice Dickson, COO of social services at Utah Community Action. “We are so grateful to the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development and The Grand America Hotel for thinking of those struggling this season.” 

“We are very happy to know that these meals will be a wonderful gift to many families in this difficult time,” noted Fernando Soberanis, executive chef at The Grand America Hotel.

Founded in 1965, Utah Community Action is a nationally recognized provider of comprehensive services for income-eligible families. Its six core programs — Head Start, Adult Education, Case Management & Housing, Nutrition, HEAT, and Weatherization — address barriers to self-reliance to empower individuals, strengthen families and build communities. Those in need of rent, utility, food and other assistance can visit utahca.org or call 801-359-2444 for more information.