Despite glowing reports about Utah's economy, the number of people seeking assistance from Utah food pantries increased by 33 percent in 1998 to date.

The demand has cleaned out the cupboards of the Utah Food Bank, said director Brenda Thompson. "Right now, we're out of everything," she said.The need is so great, the Salt Lake Emergency Food and Shelter Board has agreed to give the food bank $2,000 to buy food. While that assistance is helpful, it won't get the food bank through the next month, she said.

"This is a critical time for the Utah Food Bank," Thompson said. "With children out of school during the summer, the need for food assistance rises. Combined with the 33 percent increase in need, our supply of nutritional canned goods is depleted. We depend on the generous donations made during the holidays, but that typically doesn't start until early November."

Food and cash donations can be dropped off at or mailed to the Utah Food Bank, 1025 S. 700 West, Salt Lake City UT, 84104. For more information, call 908-8660.