Category: Featured Press

How a member of the Utah Homelessness Council upended a feed-the-hungry program

Providing prepared food rather than shelf stable pantry basics “solve[s] a lot of issues for families and students who are really short on time and can’t eat nutrient dense food because of budget.” Padilla said. “They don’t have time to prepare their meals into something healthy.”

Read the full article here.

Read More

FJC’s Jeanette Padilla talks on RADIOACTIVE

Roundtable Tuesday’s attitude of gratitude panel discussed food insecurity and community resources with:

Listen to the full radio show at

Read More

FJC Keeps its Mission in the Kitchen

Jeanette Padilla demonstrates how a childhood on the edges of poverty can inform astute humanitarian leadership. Padilla’s nonprofit organization, Food Justice Coalition, operates in answer to lived experience. The coalition works to provide blankets, kitchen implements, money, and bureaucratic assistance to people living without shelter, but Padilla’s central priority is to deliver healthy, appealing meals to people who subsist on substandard provisions.

“We have all these preconceived notions of what it is to help people experiencing homelessness,” Padilla said in a recent interview with TechBuzz. “As a society we take up the wrong approach because we see them as outside of ourselves—when they’re just essentially us.”

That is, we hand a box of pizza or a McDonald’s sack through the car window. We contribute canned goods, bagged bread, and sometimes frozen meat to food pantries—important stock items, but, as Padilla points out, not vital nutrition.

“What would you want to eat if you didn’t have access to food all the time and you’re not feeling good, or you’re feeling tired? Would you want to eat hamburgers and pizza and granola bars and donuts every day, three meals a day? Once in a while, you’ve got to eat something that’s not making you feel bad in your body.”

Padilla is not condemning anyone who shares food. “It’s not that people don’t care about what they’re feeding people that are unsheltered. It’s just easy to distribute those kinds of foods because they’re cheap, and some of them are shelf stable. But I think we ‘other’ people who are experiencing homelessness. We don’t think about their health, and what conditions they might be living with, and what their food preferences are.”

Childhood circumstance prompted Padilla to grow up quickly, alert to the needs of others. Relocations between California and Mexico strained her family’s tenuous access to food and shelter. At fourteen, she spoke better English than her immigrant parents, so it became her responsibility to contract attorneys for a brother who had fallen into trouble. Hard history now grants Padilla the empathy and know-how to address human need on a meaningful scale—and to help people on either side of the hunger gulf to reach across.

Read the full article at Techbuzz

Read More

Food for thought with the FJC

When Jeanette Padilla began raising money for a Christmas dinner to feed the unsheltered back in December 2020, she raised a lot more than anticipated. After feeding over 200 people, “We thought, ‘Let’s keep feeding people,’” she says. “We saw that there was a real need beyond what we were able to do for Christmas.” The surplus donations ran out three months later, and the Food Justice Coalition (FJC) took its place with Padilla at the helm, providing nutrient-dense, vegan meals on a nearly weekly basis.

The FJC is community-powered at every step: A volunteer team prepares the meals before distributing the same day to several unsheltered encampments around Salt Lake. Monetary donations help purchase ingredients, and local restaurants such as Publik Ed’s donated kitchen space when it had closed due to the pandemic. Other restaurants and small farms donate surplus food, helping to avoid food waste.

Read the full article at Slugmag

Read More

Why FJC is making vegan, plant-based meals for the homeless

Robby Rocha says people will often walk through the encampment where he was living last month in a field on Salt Lake City’s west side with bags full of food from McDonald’s or Burger King.

“I’ll eat it because you’re hungry,” he said. “McDonald’s is good. But I like when they bring homemade meals and homemade soups and stuff.”

At that moment, Rocha was sitting outside his tent on a camp chair, downing a plant-based meal distributed by volunteers from the Food Justice Coalition, a community group that has been working for the past few months to distribute healthy meals to people experiencing homelessness.

Read the full article at The Salt Lake Tribune

Read More