Food pantry director takes time to connect with clients

Thursday , February 15, 2018 - 6:00 AM

Jaynann Johnson, lovingly known as “JJ,” is the heart of the Bountiful Community Food Pantry. JJ started volunteering at the pantry doing intake, interviewing and processing new and returning clients, but she was quickly hired as the pantry’s manager. Today she works countless hours six days a week to advance the pantry’s mission to relieve hunger and increase the self-sufficiency of Davis County individuals in need.

JJ has a number of administrative responsibilities, but you won’t find her behind an office door. She’s typically at work at 7 a.m. to send off drivers who pick up groceries donated by local grocery stores. From there, it’s into the market, where she spends the rest of her mornings stocking shelves.

While the market is open, JJ manages a large group of volunteers and personally checks on clients and staff to answer questions and help whenever it’s needed. She can also be found in the warehouse helping bag produce, arranging food for the pantry packs and greeting people from other entities who have come to receive commodities. JJ arranges food to be sent to our local senior centers in Bountiful and Kaysville, the Head Start program at Mountain High School, a homeless distribution location in Salt Lake, Safe Harbor, and to “Woody,” whose business prepares lunch for the homeless. JJ also helps organize the pantry Packs Project that feeds hundreds of children in Davis County. We lovingly joke that when she leaves, they will have to hire three to four people to do all the work she does!

Last but not least, JJ takes time to connect with our clients, crying with them over their sorrows and encouraging them to move forward with their lives. Not only does she listen, but gives advice and information about jobs, finances, housing, education and food stamps.

Over the last 10 years she has blessed the lives of tens of thousands of people in Davis County through her service. The volunteers and clients truly feel her love and concern for them. This is why we say JJ is the heart of the pantry.

Elizabeth Smoot


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