In all we try to do to remain a beacon for those who sometimes have nowhere else to turn, nothing shores up our efforts quite like our partners do. SFB-CRC has dreamed since 2014 of becoming a one-stop hub for services and resources to help our clients, and we can only realize and sustain that vision with the support from other agencies and organizations who share it with us.
Valley Assistance Services (VAS) is now on site each week during our food distribution days on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. They will advise clients signing up for all DES programs, including AHCCCS health insurance, SNAP, Medicare Savings Plans, WIC, TANF, and many others.
“Valley Assistance Services is delighted to partner with the SFB-CRC to have a satellite office in the Sahuarita Food Bank,” VAS Executive Director Chris Erickson announced. “Working together enriches services, strengthens community engagement, and provides better care and programs/resources to those who reside in our local communities.”
VAS also provides utility, rental, and mortgage assistance, plus LIHEAP, and assists with one-to-one interviewing and resume writing, transportation for seniors and disabled persons, as well as RN advocacy and health screening/assessments.
“We treasure this wonderful partnership,” Chris said, “and are excited about the future to bring together much-needed programs and services locally.”
Pima County Community and Workforce Development has generously offered to share one of their staff, Marjava Ramirez, on food distribution days to help our clients link to Pima County’s workforce development support, which includes job search and scholarship assistance, and many other resources. In addition, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) will be available to assist those in our community who are eligible to receive VA disability benefits.
These new partners complement and amplify our services while benefiting their organizations as well. They are helping us to meet our goal of providing all our visitors with access to services, support, and helpful instruction in one local convenient place. Since many of our food bank participants face transportation challenges, this affords them the best opportunity to receive the assistance they might need without having to travel to multiple sites around town or in Tucson. It also saves time for everyone involved.
There’s power in people working together, and nothing proves that better than our priceless partnerships.
Spread the Word
We are becoming so much more than a food bank.
SFB-CRC’s mission has expanded way beyond a helping hand for the hungry, as it moves forward with programs, many in Spanish and English, which serve our visitors’ needs in so many additional and different ways. Apple Basket readers and all who support that mission can do their part to support their neighbors in need by helping to get the word out as much as possible in the community.
The Community Resource Center (CRC) is currently collaborating with the Pima County’s Arizona@Work One-Stop to provide basic employability and workforce development programs, and we have also just partnered with Valley Assistance Services for guidance with resume writing, job searching, and interviewing. RetailWorksAZ teaches fundamental skills to find work and facilitate growth in the retail industry. Low-income women can qualify for an entrepreneurship course to start a food business. CRC also offers basic computer classes in Word and Excel, as well as instruction in cooking and canning.
Courses are free and there is financial aid available based on need to help with child care, transportation, and certification testing costs. Behavioral parenting and childcare referral assistance are also available, and there is dental screening for expectant mothers and screenings/fluoride treatments for kids up to age five. Our SFB-CRC clients can also utilize free notary services Tuesdays-Thursdays from 9-3 pm.
We’re looking for volunteer instructors for our line and prep cooking class and for computer training from the most basic skills (how to turn on a computer and send an email) to coding, 3D printing, and robotics. Proficiency in Spanish is a huge plus.
SFB-CRC will continue to expand its programs. We will be partnering with Pima Community College to offer classes that train clients to become certified caregivers and certified nurse assistants. We expect to offer GED and English Language Acquisition instruction, and a class called Cooking Matters to help clients learn to cook healthy meals on a tight food budget.
These Community Resource Center programs are meant to help our clients with basic needs beyond food assistance and to help them become more self-sustaining and independent. Spreading the word will help us help them achieve those goals, and makes us all better as a community.
Celebrating Our Volunteers
Ninety volunteers enjoyed fried chicken, beans, coleslaw, rolls, and cookies from Mama Carey’s Catering at an April 29 luncheon in the food distribution area of the SFB-CRC building to thank them and celebrate their service.
Volunteers work different shifts and CRC volunteers or front desk greeters don’t usually see food distribution workers, so it gave volunteers who ordinarily don’t cross each other’s paths an opportunity to meet and get acquainted.
Board members Roberta Lopez-Suter from Trico Electric Cooperative, Jackie Smith, Curt Keim, Penny Pestle, and Dennis St. John were in attendance.
“This is the best job I have ever had,” Board President Penny Pestle told the group, “because our volunteers and staff put their hearts and souls into this work and are dedicated to serving the community.”
“They’re not just individuals,” added Executive Director Carlos Valles in expressing his personal heartfelt gratitude, “but work together for the organization.”
SFB-CRC now has 160 volunteers and they are the lifeblood of this organization. Their contributions provide 22,000 hours per year, which is the equivalent of 11 full-time employees.
He Flies with Us Now
When he isn’t traveling or working on the restoration of his dad’s 1960 Willy’s Jeep, he’s flying a small plane or volunteering at his church.
We’re fortunate that pilot Bruce Benso climbed aboard as a volunteer with us last November to help maintain our facilities. He has been invaluable while we moved into the new building as we learn more about operating a brand new and more complex place.
“It’s been a good experience,” he said. “We have awesome volunteers. They take ownership.”
A military veteran who also worked as a civil service employee at Fort Huachuca, Bruce has always been drawn to flying. Vice-president of Air Operations for the Amigo Air Show for ten years, he fondly recalls bringing in kids from under-resourced households to watch practice sessions. They were thrilled to get the chance to see the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, Golden Knights precision parachuting team, and many other acts.
The Utah native has lived in Sahuarita since 2005, and SFB-CRC is lucky to land him. Essential in making sure we know how to operate all our equipment and maintain regular maintenance schedules, Bruce has a long history of volunteer experience.
His rendering of SFB-CRC is simple and straightforward— “This is a blessed organization, and we provide blessings to others.”
Just a reminder that you can help us anytime you shop Fry’s or Amazon.
Click the Fry's graphic, log into your Fry’s account and find Sahuarita Food Bank or TQ827, click 2, then Enroll, and always swipe your Fry’s card each time you shop. Pick up a rewards card at Fry’s if you don’t have an account.
Amazon shoppers can click the Amazon Smile graphic below to sign up. Just click Get Started.
Don’t forget to Google amazonsmile.com each time you shop.