Christian Center opening Heber campus
Ryan Summerlin March 26, 2013
The Christian Center of Park City is opening a new campus in Heber. The center currently serves low-income Summit and Wasatch County residents from its Park City location on Deer Valley Drive, and from mobile food pantries in Kamas, Coalville, Midway and Heber.
However, the increasing demand on the center has exceeded its ability to provide services from one static facility.
"It has become clear over the last two years that the rapid increase in demand for accepting donations has exceeded our ability to effectively store these items and display them at our current facility on Deer Valley Drive," Christian Center Executive Director Rob Harter explained. "So after a long search, we have located a place in Heber where we can add an expansion site. This additional site will not only increase our storage capacity, but it will be utilized initially as a thrift and boutique outlet where we can distribute a large variety of goods and services, including furniture, clothes and household items."
The center’s mission is to meet people’s needs, which will be enhanced by opening the new location, he added.
The Christian Center has been serving the community for more than 13 years. It provides several services for low-income households and individuals, including a food pantry for people and pets, a thrift store, a boutique shop, dinners for seasonal workers, Native American community outreach, healthy snack and student shopping programs for low-income children, and Christmas gift and Easter basket programs.
The center leverages more than $12 million in food and household supplies, and engages hundreds of volunteers in thousands of hours of services projects.
"Last year we served over 51,000 individuals and 15,767 households," Harter said.
A third of the center’s recipients come from the Wasatch Valley.
"After analyzing where our food pantry recipients are coming from, as well as our thrift and boutique store customers, it became evident that we had a large contingent of people driving from Heber, Midway and even Provo, to our Park City campus," said Traci Johnson, Heber campus manager. "So it just made sense to expand in that direction. This will allow us to offer even more programs and services to the Heber Valley, along with low-cost and vintage clothing, furniture and household items."
Harter added that many of the recipients that live in Heber work in Park City
"And then they come to our food pantry before or after work. And I think also the word is out that it’s a food pantry and they need the food," he said.
Harter added that the new campus will also alleviate pressure on the Park City campus in terms of storing items.
"And now we have two places from which we can provide the critical food and household supplies people need," he said.
There are currently two mobile food pantries serving Heber on the first and second Wednesday of every month and one Thursday a month.
"We will phase them out over the next two to three months," Harter said. "We won’t close them right away but we want to encourage people to come to our new campus directly."
Initially, the food pantry will have limited items.
"When you come to the Park City campus, you can get milk, meat, bread, soup and everything," he said. "The Heber campus will be more like the mobile food pantries, which is higher on non-perishable items like cans and boxes and a little bit of fresh food. To get a full food pantry like we have in Park City takes a lot of refrigerators and coordination with the fresh items. Eventually we will get there. It just takes staffing and volunteering and it will take a while to get them trained and up and going."
While the Heber campus will begin as an overflow for Park City campus thrift, boutique and food pantry items, it will eventually include all the other services offered by the Park City location, such as counseling.
"The time frame will depend on what kind of response we get, how quickly we grow and what the needs are," Harter said.
The Heber campus is located at 55 East Center St., Suite 180 and will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Park City campus is located at 1283 Deer Valley Dr. and is also open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Donations are accepted at the Park City campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"Right now, we’re still using Park City as the primary place where you donate," Harter said. "As we grow, we can add that to the Heber campus. But right now, we just want to use that more as a storage and outlet store, and not a collection center. Eventually we’ll expand it out there."
The soft opening for the Heber campus is April 1, with a grand opening planned for the summer.