THE APPLE BASKET
Changes Rekindle Our Commitment
SFB-CRC has a new facility, new phone number, and essential incoming services for our clients. It seems only a few years ago that an idea spawned a dream that finally has become a reality for us. The completion of the building is swiftly bringing changes that are fostering feelings of rejuvenation and exhilaration among staff and volunteers.
The remainder of the furniture will be delivered and installed March 23. Meanwhile, staff and key volunteers have settled into their very own offices, with phone and in-person coverage 9-3 Monday through Friday, and 9 to noon Saturdays. The new number (520.777.7675) is easy to remember and the phones are already ringing.
In the last two months since we moved in, SFB-CRC has been working hard to adapt to fresh surroundings in order to make food processing, storage, and distribution safer and more efficient. Racks for pallets were installed March 1, and that’s one of the finishing touches that ultimately made it a genuine warehouse for our workers. Our new baler dubbed Captain Crunch provides relief from the slicing and shearing dangers and drudgery our expert cardboard carvers Dennis and Sara Beyer have been enduring for months. We reused boxes but recycled most, and now Captain Crunch allows us to sell them. If Covid measures permit, our food clients before long will be returning to inside grocery shopping.
Community partners are arriving to assist our clients with tax preparation through the dedicated volunteers from Pio Decimo Center, dental help from Smiles (Really Do) Matter’s dental van, a partnership with Valley Assistance Services on-site, and a resource navigator from Pima County’s One Stop. Training for coaches/mentors began March 7, and a class in building a retail career will kick off March 14. We hope next month to offer line and prep cook training, plus bring the tech center online with computer literacy instruction using several platforms, and a lending library for hybrid or online classes.
The increased storage space has allowed SFB-CRC to house diapers, as well as incontinence and feminine hygiene products, through our partnership with the Diaper Bank. Thanks to a diaper drive headed by the Green Valley Democrats, we have ample supplies for those who need them (just a one-month supply of diapers for one baby costs 50 dollars or more!)
The opening of this new building affords us so many new beginnings. We look forward to re-inventing our vision and re-establishing ways to renew our commitment to vital services to those in need in our community.
With the new building comes a new easy-to-remember phone number: 520-777-7675
This is the first in a series of articles highlighting help SFB-CRC received from both private and public donors. Individuals, as well as local, statewide, and national foundations have provided SFB-CRC with much-needed funds for construction, operations, and improvements. The government gets some mention and attention in this first installment, which highlights Pima County and Town of Sahuarita’s financial support.
Whether it’s anti-overreach arguments from the right or anti-establishment protests from the left, the government in general throughout history has always been an easy target for wrath from the public and the political pundits. President Reagan used to say government is the problem and not the solution, and Ralph Nader used to rail against government’s corporate connections. Regardless of the rhetoric in that regard, SFB-CRC has undoubtedly enjoyed immeasurable assistance from government sources.
Twenty percent of our Nourishing Capital Campaign support has come from governmental units. We have been able to tap into sources of government funding designated for low-income residents of our communities with the expressed purpose of providing assistance with food, health and nutrition, family support, and skill development and employment. It will result in these residents becoming economically better off and more consistent contributors to their own communities. They support businesses, pay taxes, and give more to non-profits than they ever would have if they had not received this helping hand that has been funded through essential aid from grants and other government resources.
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), some recently related to Covid relief funding, have been a huge advantage. SFB-CRC received approval for these competitive grants each year between 2017 and 2021. Once construction of the new building began, we drew on three separate contracts for reimbursements for approved capital costs. Pima County has done everything we could hope for in their efforts to remain careful stewards of these dollars, providing exceptional communication and service, and they are always supportive of our goals.
Thanks to the Town Council and staff of the Town of Sahuarita, we sought and received American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding as well. ARPA is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 117th United States Congress to speed up the country’s recovery from the economic and health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Towns and other governmental units received a part of this funding.
Donations from the government can be a double-edged sword. In some cases, there can be unwanted restrictions, bureaucracy, and loss of local control. On the other hand, it can mean the easing of worry over financial burdens and an improvement in the quality of life in the community. SFB-CRC’s experience has been a good one, not only contributing to our efforts to extend a helping hand to those who need it in our community but the knowledge that we can get a helping hand when we need it, too.
Volunteer Becomes Super Advocate
Like many of our volunteers, Brenda Bowers was forced by Covid to temporarily step down from her duties, but she never stepped away.
Brenda wrote letters, distributed flyers, and sent emails, merging HOA’s La Cañada Norte II with Estates at La Cañada Norte into a food collection program that resulted in thirty neighbors a month contributing cash and food over the last two years.
Knowing in her neighborhood that there are some single moms raising kids and elderly widows who struggle and are grateful for the help, Brenda mentions the food bank as a lifeline whenever she can.
SFB-CRC is so appreciative of everyone in our corner. This time even the worst of circumstances managed to deliver a positive impact, using the experience and loyalty of one of our regular volunteers to create a campaign that simultaneously afforded us an invaluable advocate in the community.
When April Young, SFB-CRC’s logistics coordinator, left to pursue a new opportunity, we were fortunate that Mike Reilly stepped forward to take the position. He has become an invaluable member of our team.
A property manager in Sahuarita in addition to serving thirty hours a week for us, Mike is always ready to jump in when needed and takes the initiative to solve problems. He’s unfailingly cheerful, hardworking, reliable, and strong. He has relieved others of some of the toughest tasks in efficiently sourcing, receiving, and storing food.
Mike has family in Florida, California, and New Hampshire, and he spent a lot of summers in New England. With five half-brothers and sisters, plus three step-sisters and one step-brother, he is close to family and friends. His grandmother ran a cattle ranch in Washington and lived to 102. He called her the “glue” of the family.
A surfing, snowboarding, tennis-playing San Diego native, Mike’s personality blends with pretty much everyone in our organization. Humble and self-aware, he wanted to do something a little different to give back, which led him to us. He has brought his heart and energy to SFB-CRC, and we’re lucky to have him.