THE APPLE BASKET
The Sahuarita Food Bank & Community Resource Center would like to wish all our donors, friends, volunteers, staff, and visitors a joyous and healthy holiday season.
Rescuing Food for Families
Someone once said that love and food are meant to be shared, not wasted. It’s why SFB-CRC and 7 local stores are committed to keeping safe food flowing from grocery shelf to food bank to kitchen.With the help of a dedicated team of SFB-CRC volunteers (Ron Nunn, David Niemeyer, Gary Browning, SFB logistics coordinator Mike Reilly, Bud Forman, Steve Brown, Dick Wheeler, retired Fry’s manager Taylor Hoskins, Brad Nelson, Carol and David Vleck, Nancy Bowen and Hathaway Cornelius, and Jerry and Linda Weibe), Frys, Sprouts, Walmart, Starbucks, Big Lots, and both Safeway locations every year rescue nearly 83.5 tons of safe, consumable food items that are distributed to local families in need.
Perishable foods at or past their “sell-by/use by” dates, which we all notice on the package when we shop, are recovered and distributed through grocery rescue programs, preventing waste and providing still edible food to members of the community through local food banks. Certain foods are good well past the date for purchase, and SFB-CRC carefully checks them to ensure that only safe foods go to our food bank visitors.
Our rescue team of 15, the most we’ve ever had, works many hours every week to gather these contributions, sometimes very early in the morning when stores have completed a review of their stock. All are reli
able, strong, and fully committed to this concept. They are invaluable to our operation, so we plan to highlight these selfless volunteers in the next edition of Apple Basket.
We owe our grocery partners a huge thank-you as well, so please take the time to tell store managers when you shop how much their generosity enhances our efforts to provide for the hungry in our community.
The following is a posting from Patricia Stocker’s November 11, 2021 blog.
Sahuarita Food Bank & Community Resource Center
An enthusiastic group of people gathered earlier this week for a "sneak peek" of the Sahuarita Food Bank & Community Resource Center targeted to open in February 2022. Tours of the nearly completed facility offered a glimpse of what the new building will be able to offer when fully operational. Our tour group was led by Executive Director Carlos Valles, who has been at the Food Bank since January 2019. As he guided us around the 14,300 square foot building, he shared anecdotes, inside stories, and unmistakable pride in what has already been accomplished and what is to come. Words such as wow, much needed, a triumph, amazing accomplishment, etc., were uttered by persons in our group as we wandered through this wonderful new structure.
The food distribution area will be set up to mimic a supermarket with groceries displayed in two tiers on both sides of several aisles. Walmart donated shopping carts that clients will use as they make their choices. A large bank of coolers in the distribution area will hold milk, yogurt, cheese, juice, etc. Carlos informed us that no other food bank in the country has a set-up like this.
I have taken the liberty of sharing information gathered from the SFB-CRC website with quotation marks indicating when this occurs. "The Sahuarita Food Bank and Community Resource Center is committed to racial and economic justice in our region. We strive to meet the nutritional needs of the hungry through the acquisition and distribution of healthy food. In collaboration with community partners and clients, we also address the causes of hunger through education, workforce development, coaching and other human services."
Community partnerships have been nourished and encouraged to create relevant programming that will be offered at the center. For example, Pima Community College will establish a program to train individuals for careers as nursing aides and assistants. Currently there are no programs of this type in the geographic area south of Tucson to Nogales that offer this training. A state-of-the-art computer room will provide printers, possibly including a 3D printer, copiers, and WiFi access throughout the building. Parenting classes will be offered as well as food prep classes that will demonstrate the preparation of healthy, nutritious meals. The commercial kitchen will also provide the opportunity for people to learn how to develop in-home food-related products that can be sold. Workforce development courses are also an integral part of the proposed services.
"The Sahuarita Food Bank was founded in 2009 at the request of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, which identified an unmet need for food in Sahuarita and nearby communities. The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Sahuarita began hosting a food bank to assist a few families a week. Today, the number of families served weekly has grown to nearly 300 and is expected to continue to increase."
"The Sahuarita Food Bank incorporated in early 2018 as a nonprofit organization operating independently from The Good Shepherd, which continues to enthusiastically support and be actively involved with our operations. Our status as an independent nonprofit agency enables us to grow and expand our services, operations and facilities to better meet the needs of our community."
"We are committed to our core values of collaboration, excellence, innovation and justice."
John and I are so very pleased to attend a church that opened its doors in 2009 to the food bank. We continue to support the efforts of this much-needed service that exemplifies the good that can come from "collaboration, excelling in delivery of service, committing to addressing the root causes of hunger, advocating for social justice, and promoting diversity and inclusion."
The development and growth of the SFB-CRC is a shining example of what might be replicated in other parts of our country where there is community vision, commitment, and enthusiastic hard-working volunteers.
Here’s the Latest Low Down!
Food Drives Deliver
SFB-CRC has received 14,657 pounds of food and more than $11,000 in cash donations from food drives so far this year. These events are essential for our success in providing food for the hungry. We will provide a list in the first Apple Basket issue of 2022 of all the organizations that have stepped up in so many ways—just another example of this community’s generosity and support for the Sahuarita Food Bank.
545 students from eight schools—including five at SUSD, Continental, Mission School on the Tohono O’odham Nation, and San Fernando Elementary in Sasabe—are receiving weekend BackPack food. It’s the largest number of BackPacks we have ever provided, ensuring that these students who would otherwise go hungry have kid-friendly nutritious food to tide them over on weekends.
Serious New Wheels
Thanks to a generous grant from Kroger, SFB-CRC has purchased a new Dodge Ram 3500 cargo van to take some of the load off our trusty overtaxed 2013 Ford van. It makes many trips each week from trips to pick up food in Tucson, food drive loading, and the grocery rescue program. With the increasing number of food bank visitors, the new van will afford us the capacity to meet that need, and we can now use the Ford for light-duty runs.
Diapers Direct to Families
The Diaper Bank of Tucson has invited SFB-CRC to become a partner in providing diapers and incontinence supplies, which are not covered by SNAP (food stamps) or the WIC program (supplemental nutrition for low-income women, infants, and children). We can now offer an ample supply of these very expensive but essential items directly to our food bank visitors, complementing the donations we periodically receive from donors and community organizations.
Young Reapers Ready
Walden Grove National Honor Society students have put together a team of fresh fruit harvesters who are ready to assist homeowners who want to donate citrus and other fruits from trees on their property to the food bank. Feel free to contact Roni Singh for details.
Check Your Mail
Look for the SFB-CRC 2021 Community Report in your mailbox. In the next several weeks you will receive this annual publication, which shares the need in the community, appreciation from our stakeholders, and our progress toward the new building. Please let us know if you would like it emailed instead – email@example.com