THE APPLE BASKET

SEPTEMBER 2022

The Latest | September 2022
Grand Opening Soon l September 2022
Learners Will Love the New Lab  | September  2022
Breaking the Cycle Benefits Everyone| September 2022
Dashers Deliver | September 2022
Ron Reaches Fellow Vets September 2022

 

THE LATEST

 

We Score Major Award

It was SFB-CRC’s first ever national award. Executive Director Carlos Valles represented us in Colorado Springs September 21 at the National Association of County Community and Economic Development’s annual meeting to collect the Community Development Award. Pima County nominated us for developing and implementing our one-stop hub concept—a food bank also offering workforce development, health/nutrition, and family support services. “It is so gratifying,” Carlos said, “to know that Pima County and NACCED value our mission, and the county feels that their investment in this project was worth their while.”

Key Volunteer Honored

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The Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun and nearly 30 volunteers, staff, and board members (pictured at left) honored our volunteer operations manager Sue Eaton on September 14 for her selection as one of AZ19’s Most Influential People. Sue ensures that our operation runs smoothly during our four food distributions per week, and handles intake on all new food bank visitors. Respected by everyone in the organization, Sue, along with her spouse Walt Burzycki, deserve our gratitude for 13 years of selfless devotion to SFB-CRC.

Bayer Backs Us Big Time

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Our 170 volunteers, some year-round, some winter visitors, are the backbone of SFB-CRC, but sometimes we are blessed with drop-in volunteers, too. Bayer, based in Marana, provided us with a $10,000 grant for the weekend BackPack program for students who would otherwise be hungry on weekends. Ten volunteers from their workforce pitched in to pack them with food for the kids. We’re so grateful for Bayer’s commitment to the young people in our community whose families are under resourced.

Dealing With Dangers of Diabetes

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SFB-CRC is collaborating with Valley Assistance Services, a key partner, in offering our Diabetes Prevention and Management Program, funded by a grant from Arizona Complete Health. Diabetes and pre-diabetes are very prevalent in Pima County and affect many of our shared clients. The program will include a series of “Cooking Matters” classes, as well as nutrition and diabetes education, and diabetic-friendly food. Up to 20 people will be monitored over the next year, so look for more about this in the next Apple Basket.

Inflation Doubles Demand

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With inflation afflicting our most vulnerable, we need your financial contributions and non-perishable food donations more than ever. The number of Sahuarita households served this past August doubled from August 2021, and numbers of seniors on fixed incomes using the food bank rose by almost 25 percent. Our numbers are approaching Covid levels. Go to our website sahuaritafoodbank.org to donate.

 

Grand Opening Soon

Save this date! November 18, 3-7 pm, is set for the family-friendly grand opening and open house. We postponed it because we wanted to have our new programs up and running for the community to witness what their support has provided. All in the community are invited to this informal gathering with a short program at 5:30 featuring some of those who have been the cheerleaders and financial backers for the project. There will be music and food trucks and something for the youngest among us. Each household will receive a “passport” to travel through the building and several stamps on the passport will qualify you for the free food. Monetary sponsors so far include the Town of Sahuarita and Pima County Community and Workforce Development, but more are certainly welcome. Stay tuned for more information and plan to join us!

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Learners Will Love the New Lab

Save this date! November 18, 3-7 pm, is set for the family-friendly grand opening and open house. We postponed it because we wanted to have our new programs up and running for the community to witness what their support has provided. All in the community are invited to this informal gathering with a short program at 5:30 featuring some of those who have been the cheerleaders and financial backers for the project. There will be music and food trucks and something for the youngest among us. Each household will receive a “passport” to travel through the building and several stamps on the passport will qualify you for the free food. Monetary sponsors so far include the Town of Sahuarita and Pima County Community and Workforce Development, but more are certainly welcome. Stay tuned for more information and plan to join us!

 
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Breaking the Cycle Benefits Everyone
by Penny Pestle

Hope makes you stronger. It fuels courage and perseverance, and can make all the difference in how you view your future. Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “where there is hope, there is life.”
 
One of the most difficult challenges when facing criminal sentencing is losing hope that you can still make a go of it once you have paid your debt. Ninety-eight percent of offenders return to society. Our Arizona criminal justice system simply does not adequately prepare those who have served their time in prison or jail to re-enter their communities with a fighting chance for success. Many cannot find employment, become disconnected from their families, and suffer the frustrations of trying to fit in. Half will return to incarceration, and the costs are borne by all of us.


 

It’s a cycle of despair that seems unbreakable. It costs the state more than a billion dollars a year to operate prisons. The financial and intangible impact on the offenders’ futures, their families, the victims of their crimes, and the health of our communities is incalculable.

 

I’m pleased to announce that SFB-CRC will join the battle to help provide hope and break that cycle through a groundbreaking approach to alter the recidivism patterns that all too familiar. The Center for the Future of Arizona brings Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state, and the Cycle Breaker Program is one of their innovations, which include education, workforce, as well as civic engagement programs.

 

The Town of Sahuarita’s Economic Development Director Victor Gonzalez approached us a little over a year ago to implement a series of classes that builds in-depth knowledge and skills in the retail industry. There are many career paths within this industry that can provide good earning potential. As we worked with RetailWorks AZ program, the Center for the Future of Arizona approached our former director of the CRC, Roni Singh. Through her hard work while she transitioned back to her home in Canada, Roni worked with the Center and Goodwill of Tucson on the Cycle Breaker Program. The intent of the program is to help create a career path to returning residents so that they can become employed and address many of the challenges they face.

 

The Cycle Breaker Program offers the National Retail Federation’s Rise Up curriculum. When students complete the training, they receive a $250 stipend through the Center for the Future of Arizona. Youth are referred through Adult Probation and Goodwill. They apply to the program, which will continue a minimum of four years, and when accepted are eligible for services. The objective is to provide wrap-around services, including housing assistance, counseling, an education pathway, and job skills training and employment placement so they can take the steps to break cycles of poverty, addiction, and violence. Held at Goodwill locations, the program is completely in step with the mission of our Community Resource Center—to bring support for those seeking to achieve self-sufficiency and well-being.

 

Goodwill is a well-known and highly regarded national organization with many locations in Southern Arizona, and their talented staff works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. They put an emphasis on youth re-entry as part of their employment programs, and work closely with the business community to make that happen.

 

SFB-CRC is proud to be partnering with them and learning from this program so that we can do our part to break the cycle and bring hope to those returning to our communities who want to be better, not bitter.

 

Penny Pestle was involved in criminal justice reform in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as part of The Delta Strategy’s Prisoner Reentry project in 2000-2001, and more recently in Tucson, as an advocate at the Arizona Legislature for the American Friends Service Committee. She believes that the cycle of crime can be broken through robust programming both inside prisons and jails, and upon release.

Dashers Deliver

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Like the famous reindeer Santa depends on, DoorDash delivery drivers, dubbed “dashers,” take a large load off our volunteers, and the program significantly strengthens our ability to help homebound clients.

Executive Director Carlos Valles received an email out of the blue from DoorDash, a national organization that provides food delivery services asking him if SFB-CRC would like to participate with their philanthropic arm to help our own homebound food bank clients. Of course, the first question was…how much?
As it turned out, we are delighted to be receiving the equivalent of $100,000 in delivery services to our 70 homebound households at no cost.

Volunteer Sue Eaton identifies those confined at home or struggling to get to the food bank for a variety of reasons, such as disability, age, a recent hospitalization, or no transportation. She contacts them to ask if they would like to participate, and Sara Beyer creates and updates a master list. Drivers are well paid to deliver every Monday. DoorDash and SFB-CRC get great publicity for the organizations, so it’s a win for everybody involved.

Volunteer Robin Benso spearheads the program from our end, juggling challenges such as special diet concerns, hard to find locations, no one home, and multiple drivers congregating all at once. Fellow volunteers Cathy Nelms, Linda Kepley, Sally Hoogerwerd, and David Neameyer pack boxes and bags of food. Robin and her spouse Bruce stage the boxes on Sunday evenings for the dashers to pick up and deliver by noon on Monday. That delivery adds an extra food distribution day for us, so SFB-CRC is actually now providing food distribution five days a week.

“People are so appreciative and grateful,” Robin said, “and the dashers like providing this service.” She says that some drivers just have a “heart for this” and so they make sure to free up their time on Monday mornings. Some are actually using SFB-CRC resources.

“DoorDash is becoming a community ambassador for SFB-CRC,” she added. “They learn about us and then they share what we have to offer with people they know will benefit.”

Only because of our many new and experienced volunteers can SFB-CRC smoothly transition into a partnership with a great program like DoorDash to get food reliably delivered by compensated drivers, lessen the demands on our volunteers, and provide excellent publicity for both organizations.

Robin is already thinking about holiday gifts for “dashers,” and we’ll be happy to deliver those!


 

 
 
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Ron Reaches Fellow Vets

Following a long career on aircraft carriers as a petty officer and bosun’s mate, which he describes as the backbone of the Navy, Ron Bryant has continued serving his country as a Veteran Service Officer, working through Disabled American Veterans as an advocate for those entitled to compensation for service-related issues, including PTSD and other psychological disabilities.

One day he dropped by to see Executive Director Carlos Valles and they discussed how he could be of assistance to our food bank recipients and CRC participants. Ron has kept regular office hours for a few months now in the front conference room at SFB-CRC Mondays and Thursdays, and during that time has assisted 41 veterans and their families, guiding them through the process of qualifying for benefits. Typically, the VA doesn’t reach out to identify veterans who might qualify. It’s incumbent on them to apply, so Ron provides an invaluable service to help them navigate through it.

A hundred percent disability can provide $3500 a month, and often includes back compensation, so it can truly change the lives of these men and women who have served their country, since many of them suffer limitations regarding their ability to work at the level they hoped to achieve. Folks now come from as far as Phoenix and Sierra Vista, having heard how he has helped so many other vets.

There are just a few who remain from World War II or Korea, but Ron sees Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, so he keeps up with the latest claim information, such as the recently passed legislation requiring the VA to cover injuries, mostly respiratory, as a result of exposure to burn pits.

A veteran makes an appointment to apply for a disability claim, usually referred by a fellow vet, Ron said, and often after presenting pertinent information, he digs in and is able to discover other ways to help them, so it’s critical to have someone like him looking out for our heroes.

If you are a veteran and you would like to set up a consultation with Ron, reach out to him at 206-478-1885. He could change your life.