THE APPLE BASKET
Where Will We Go?
Many local families, and individuals, too, are trying to avoid the catastrophic consequences that come with losing their homes. The pandemic has significantly increased pressure on renters, with nearly ten percent facing an immediate threat of eviction.
The federal government is providing funding for rental relief to state governments from Emergency Shelter Grants, Community Development Block Grants, and through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but many states are slow to get people registered and get the money to them. Fortunately, Pima County is listed as one of the top rental assistance distributors in the nation, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Although 80% of funding allocated here has been spent, Pima County is likely through its persistence to receive more funding from jurisdictions not using those dollars. Community Investment Corporation created a platform that allows landlords and tenants to apply online. They receive a number and get feedback as to where they are on the waiting list. Pima County’s Ending Poverty Now program manager Bonnie Bazata has been a champion with this challenge, hosting weekly or bi-weekly Zoom meetings to coordinate outreach and the application process, secure legal assistance and case management, and get eviction assistance to those in need.
Since February, SFB-CRC’s new Community Resource Director Roni Singh has been tirelessly using resources available here in Pima County to get help for those dealing with this difficult issue. She has already outlined information on eviction assistance for 71 families, guided them in navigating the complicated process online, helped get utility assistance, and aided evicted families in finding shelter, money, or other resources
Vanessa and her five children were evicted and forced to share a hotel room. With no money and no options remaining, Roni stepped in and worked with Pima County to keep her in the hotel so her kids could stay in school. Vanessa and her family are now on a waiting list for a house voucher that will hopefully help them find a home. There are many complicated cases like these that don’t get solved easily or quickly, but having an advocate and coach in Vanessa’s corner made all the difference.
The ravages and ruin from this horrible crisis are still no match for consistent collaboration and caring about what happens to our neighbors in need. Our Community Resource Center will continue to identify those who need a hand and do whatever we can to help.
Fantastic New Funder
We can’t place these people on the pedestal that we’d like to put up because the donors want to remain anonymous, but we are so grateful that an incredibly generous local couple has agreed to match any and all donations made after September 14, 2021, up to $20,000. The potential $40,000 from this challenge will go a long way in helping us fund our Nourishing our Community capital campaign. These folks are committed to this challenge because they believe their investment and the matches from future donors for the new building will produce immeasurable and visible results in the community for all of us.
To be a part of the challenge with your contribution, please note “$20,000 matching campaign” in the note section and send your check to Jackie Smith, Sahuarita Food Bank & Community Resource Center, 17750 S. La Cañada Drive, Sahuarita, AZ 85629.
Don’t Miss It!
Friends of SFB-CRC should keep November 9 in a special spot on their calendars. Funders, future funders, community members, and volunteers will be invited to sneak a peek at the new building at 4 p.m. while enjoying appetizers, refreshments and social distanced fellowship.
We will share our excitement about the new facility with tours, plus answer any questions. The building is not scheduled for completion until February, but we wanted to give those who might be curious, some maybe impatient, the opportunity for a special preview.
The new building will allow SFB-CRC to serve more hungry residents by distributing food as well as packing and delivering more than 600 weekend nutrition BackPacks to school children in nine different schools. We will also now have lots of space for community partnerships providing programs in one location that will provide health and nutrition assistance, many workforce development programs preparing our participants for employment and career advancement, and family support.
We look forward to seeing our guests there November 9 at 4 pm. We expect lots of wows!
Realtors Raise Us Up
Our local realtors recently rocked our world by selecting us as recipients for their annual fundraiser.
The Green Valley/Sahuarita Association of Realtors (GVSAR) wrote us a generous check for $7150 from their charity golf tournament at Desert Hills Golf Club, August 30, always well attended and successful.
GVSAR administrative executive Janie McDonald approached our executive director Carlos Valles earlier this year to talk about SFB-CRC, and he felt there was a clear resonance between the values underlying our work and the values of their board.
Janie joined Martha Koslowsky from Realty Executives and current GVSAR president; John Malozsak of Suburban Real Estate Group, the incoming GVSAR president; Jerry Sander of Sander Realty; Corey Hughes, GVSAR executive assistant; and Conner Malozsak of One Creative for the check presentation and a tour of the new building.
Martha remarked more than once that SFB-CRC is such an important part of our community and especially stressed the role of the CRC in helping people become more economically stable.
The local support we receive from prestigious professional organizations like the GVSAR is a real vote of confidence that we can continue the growth and success we have enjoyed. SFB-CRC is very fortunate to be building for the future in a community such as ours.
She’s a Keeper
If I had to describe the perfect volunteer,” said SFB-CRC Board President Penny Pestle, “she would be Selene Castro.”
“She always does a great job at whatever she does,” agreed Operations Manager Sue Eaton. “She’ll take on any task and does it well.”
Though she has volunteered for just two years, Selene has become known as a quiet yet powerful presence at the food bank. Characterized by a bright smile, she registers food bank visitors, packs food boxes, helps load food into cars, and since she is bilingual, is able to help virtually anyone who visits the facility in any number of ways.
She has two grown daughters, one who helps Carlos, our executive director, and his wife Vanessa with their three-year-old twin girls, and the other is a student at U of A. With 20 years of experience as a licensed pharmacy technician in Nogales, Selene brings us a wealth of customer service skills along with an abundance of kindness. She says she loves volunteering for us. “I like to help people, and the other volunteers are so friendly and kind.”
She looks forward to working with them for years to come. “The team will keep working together as we have,” she believes, “and I am just so happy to be here.”
You’re Never Alone
Everybody needs a helping hand sometimes, and even the smallest of creatures can remind us of why we’re here on this planet and what we’re supposed to be doing to look out for each other.
The hummingbird landed awkwardly, its tiny beak resting in a crack in the pavement in our parking lot. Obviously distressed, it clung to April Young, our warehouse coordinator. When it wouldn’t seem to revive and couldn’t fly, our office manager Kellie Tonks called a vet who suggested she take it to the International Wildlife Museum in Tucson. Kellie placed her in a box and drove her to Tucson.
The bird suffered a slight sprain and was dehydrated. Eventually rehydrated, she was returned to a tree nearby. It was a tough day for her, but she’s going to be fine because several people who refused to let it be alone, to ignore its plight, made a commitment to help the helpless no matter what it took to do that.
It’s nothing out of the ordinary here in our community. We will never let those in need be ignored or alone. SFB-CRC is committed to its mission to always be there when someone needs that helping hand. It’s what we do.