The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona’s mission is “to change lives in the communities we serve by feeding the hungry today, and building a healthy, hunger-free tomorrow.”
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.
Learn more about how you can be a part of positive change in our community by reading the full article below.
Where is the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona located?
The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona warehouse can be found in Central Tucson at 3003 S. Country Club Road.
The warehouse is a 140,000 square foot building, which was originally a Levy’s Department Store. The property is also home to a learning garden, a shaded play structure, a resource center, and office space. The demonstration garden hosts a number of gardening workshops throughout the year that are free and open to the public (regardless of income).
In ongoing sustainability efforts, the food bank features a parking lot with solar panels that produce 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 actively recycles cardboard, plastic, aluminum, wood pallets…even food. Unusable food is given to pig farmers or used for compost.
In addition to the central headquarters, The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona also operates:
- Resource Centers in Marana, Green Valley, Amado, and Nogales.
- Las Milpitas Community Farm at 2405 S. Cottonwood Lane, which offers free garden plots to grow fruits and vegetables.
- Caridad Community Kitchen at 845 N. Main. Caridad offers free grab n go meals and a free culinary training program. Staff at Caridad prepare community meals and senior meals in partnership with Catholic Community Services and Lutheran Social Services.
If someone is hungry, how might they go about receiving food from the bank? Is there paperwork to complete? Are there income guidelines?
Someone in need of food can come to the main Community Food Bank warehouse at 3003 S. Country Club Road. They should bring a photo ID and something that shows their mailing address. Before picking up food, they will self-disclose their income and the number of people who live in their household.
While 3003 S. Country Club is the address for the main warehouse, note that there are many partner agencies and pantries that supply food in other parts town.
What should a teacher, coach, neighbor, or friend do if they suspect that a child is hungry?
School counselors can often help. There are also a growing number of school pantries throughout Southern Arizona. Many churches and agencies offer food as well. Click on the link in the question directly above this one for more ideas.
Are there volunteer opportunities available?
Yes! The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona welcomes volunteers. You may be able to help with one or more of the below tasks.
- Food Boxes: Packing food boxes is a great project for groups or individuals.
- Farming: Help with a variety of outdoor tasks at 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. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.).
Do you have volunteer opportunities for teens?
Yes. Anyone who is ages 16+ and meets the volunteer requirements may serve as a volunteer. Older elementary and middle school students may volunteer also if accompanied by a parent.
The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona also offers a Teen Leaders Against Hunger program for high school students (grades 9-12). These workshops are offered semi-monthly or monthly, depending on the season. This is a one-time workshop. Teens learn about stereotypes about poverty and hunger and learn more about the work of the Community Food Bank. These workshops are open to any high schooler. They are free and include lunch.
Can I volunteer with my children?
Due to safety concerns, regular volunteers must be age 16 and up. That said, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona hosts 2-3 Family Volunteer Days per month. These days are specifically designed to help families learn more about the food bank. The opportunities vary and may include helping at special events, helping bag or sort food in the warehouse, or helping in Nuestra Tierra Garden. Please RSVP ahead of time so that the food bank cam plan accordingly
Kids can also participate in the effort to end hunger by organizing and/or contributing to food drives.
What if I can’t volunteer my TIME?
- Donate food. Most-needed items include peanut butter, cereal, canned soups, canned tuna and chicken, canned tomato products, canned vegetables and fruit, beans, pasta, rice, and nuts. Note that there are drop-off locations all around town.
- Donate money. For every $1 donated, approximately 4 meals are provided to children, seniors, and families in need.
Who should I contact if I want to become a volunteer?
Call 520-882-3292 or send an email to email@example.com.
CONNECT WITH THE FOOD BANK
Is the Community Food Bank on social media?
You can also sign up for the food bank’s newsletter to receive updates about events, volunteer opportunities, and pressing needs.
To learn about other volunteer opportunities in Tucson, please subscribe to TucsonTopia’s free weekly newsletter.