OGDEN -- When members of Hope Resurrected Church were looking for a location where they could expand their operation, room for their food bank was a prime consideration.
While the church hosts about 45 members each Sunday, it feeds about 200 families every week.
"We distribute 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of food every week," said Pastor Fred Lopez. "We expect to triple that by the end of the year."
Gina Cornia, executive director of Utahns Against Hunger, said this Ogden church is just one example of Utah faith-based organizations that have seen a need in the community and stepped up to meet it.
"In my mind, the other agencies are sort of catching up to the churches," Cornia said. "The Bountiful pantry was started by (Bountiful Community Church), and they are a big pantry."
She said faith-based organizations have always had a presence in helping people with food in Utah, and she recognized that these groups have recently stepped up the pace.
"There certainly has been an increase in demand," she said.
Linda Hilton, director of the Utah Coalition of Religious Communities, expects that demand to keep rising, especially if a proposed tax increase on food makes it through the Utah Legislature. The bill already passed the Utah Senate this week.
Hilton has led members of Utah religious communities to lobby against this proposed bill throughout this legislative session.
"This couldn't be a worse time to raise taxes on food," she said. "We're still coming out of a recession. A lot of people are still unemployed or underemployed."
Hilton believes area churches are responding to the need because they are being forced into it.
"The Legislature has this thought that if they don't give money to a government program, then the churches will take care of everything," she said.
"It's kind of scary, because churches don't have a lot of capacity to pick up a lot of people who don't have a safety net."
Hilton cited a Utah Food Research Action Committee news release about a recent report on hunger in Utah.
"The Ogden area is doing quite badly," she said. "More than one in five families don't have enough money to buy food."
The report states that in the Ogden/Clearfield metro area, 21.3 percent report difficulty buying food and food hardship.
That's the highest percentage of hungry residents cited by the report in the entire state.
Two other churches that recently have joined the fight against hunger locally are C.L.U.B.B. Jesus and Elim Lutheran Church.
Elim Lutheran, through private donations and a grant, has fed 31 children in six families for six months through a special program.
Starting next month, the church will become a drop site for the Utah Food Bank, but which day of the month has not yet been determined.
Organizers said those wishing to get more information about the upcoming monthly food drop may visit the Utah Food Bank website at www.utahfoodbank.org.
Another food bank, formerly run by Washington Heights Church in South Ogden, is moving to Christian Heritage School and is set to open soon.