The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona exists to “meet the food needs of the hungry in our community through education, advocacy, and the acquisition, storage, and distribution of food.”
Whether or not we see it plainly in our own neighborhoods, the fact remains that Pima County has a high poverty rate. Indeed, 17% of people meet that definition. As the food bank so aptly puts it, “hunger is closer than you think.” In Southern Arizona, 1 in 4 children live at or below the Federal Poverty Level and 1 in 5 seniors in Arizona goes to bed hungry.
The food bank’s vision is a “healthy, hunger-free community” – which is one of the reasons we stand by the food bank so much. We commend the bank for focusing on sustainable solutions and healthy food education.
The headquarters at 3003 S. Country Club Road is a 140,000 square foot building which was originally a Levy’s Department Store and is now a giant warehouse. Also, on-site is a community garden, shaded play structure, assistance center, office space for a variety of non-profits, and a small farm. The demonstration garden hosts a number of gardening workshops throughout the year that are free and open to the the public (regardless of income).
Also on-site at the food bank is a parking lot with solar panels that produces 68,000 watts AC (enough to power seven average-sized houses) and a HUGE 14,000 gallon rainwater barrel that keeps the garden alive. The food bank does its utmost to be good stewards of its resources – they recycle cardboard, plastic, aluminum, wood pallets, even food. Unusable donated food is given to pig farmers or used for compost.
Where is the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona located?
In Central Tucson.
The address is: 3003 S. Country Club Road, Tucson.
There are also three “branch banks” – located in Marana, Green Valley-Sahuarita, and Amado.
What volunteer opportunities are available?
- Food Boxes: Packing food boxes is a great project for groups or individuals.
- Farming: Volunteers are needed for gleaning/picking unused produce from farms. Or work at the Community Food Bank’s urban farm, Las Milpitas de Cottonwood.
- Sorting: Help sort food donations given by local community members.
- Garden: Volunteer to work in the garden. Garden mentors are also needed to mentor home and school gardeners for two seasons.
- Events & Food Drives: Help out at special events and food drives. Call for dates.
- Prepare Food for Distribution: Open cases of food and prepare for distribution. This is a Saturday project.
What are the training requirements?
There is an application for individuals and an application for groups. Volunteer shifts are generally 3 hours, but there is definitely flexibility. One-time volunteer opportunities are also available.
After the application has been processed, new volunteers take a group tour and learn some basic warehouse rules (no open toe shoes or talking on cell phones, check in/checkout procedures, etc.).
What if I can’t volunteer my TIME?
- Donate food. Most-needed items include peanut butter, cereal, canned soups, canned meat, canned tomato products, canned vegetables, and canned fruit. Note that there are drop-off locations all around town.
- Donate money. For every $1 donated, the food bank can distribute almost $9 of food, enough for about five meals. Over 97 cents of every dollar donated goes to food and programs.
- Order a brick for the Path to Stop Hunger, a commemorative walkway of 6,000 bricks and 12 benches that connects the Community Food Bank’s parking lot to the community garden.
Can I volunteer with my children?
Due to safety concerns, volunteers must be age 16 and up. That said, kids can certainly participate in the effort to end hunger by organizing and/or contributing to food drives.
Who should I contact if I want to become a volunteer?
CONNECT WITH THE FOOD BANK
Is the Community Food Bank on Facebook and Twitter?
- Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona on Facebook
- Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona on Twitter
- Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona on Pinterest
- Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona on Google+
You can also sign up for the food bank’s newsletter to receive updates about events, volunteer opportunities, and pressing needs.