Tag Archives: association of arizona food banks

foodbank

BCBSAZ donates 6,250 meals to the hungry

Arizonans across the state struggle with hunger. According to the Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB), almost one in five adults, and one in four children, struggle with hunger and poverty in rural and metro communities alike.

Because food insecurity rates in Arizona are higher than the national average, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) selected three organizations to receive support as part of its 75th anniversary, “Arizonans First.  Always” campaign.

“Hunger is a disheartening and undeniable issue in Arizona,” said Rich Boals, president and CEO of BCBSAZ. “We will do what we can to help fight hunger with the hope our contributions encourage others to do the same.”

The three programs supported include:

1.     The Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB) through a donation of 7,500 lbs. of canned food. The 7,500 lbs. is equivalent to 6,250 meals.“Items like canned chicken and similar canned foods are greatly needed,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the AAFB. “They are healthy and full of protein, which is always in short supply and necessary for a balanced diet. The Association of Arizona Food Banks could not accomplish our goals without these kinds of generous donations.”

2.     The Valley of the Sun United Way’s World Record to End Hunger project was supported by BCBSAZ volunteers lending time to assembling food bags for those in need. As it turned out, the volunteers broke the Guinness World Record by assembling more than 2,000 food bags in just three minutes.

3.     A contribution was also made to the Yavapai Food Council (YFC) which administers the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project and the National School Lunch Program countywide. The food that is collected through the Yavapai Food Neighbors Project will be donated to community food banks, pantries, and child-hunger programs. The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced meals to students at rural and charter schools, comprised of more than 60 percent low-income families based on the U.S. Governments poverty guidelines.  A study conducted by YFC shows that one out of four adults and one out of three children in Yavapai County face food insecurity. Program funding is critical in helping these children grow up healthy and strong.

The “Arizonans First. Always.” campaign has already visited Pima, Maricopa, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Greenlee, Graham, Apache, Navajo, Mohave and La Paz counties. Following the World Record to End Hunger project, BCBSAZ will visit Coconino County. To learn more about BCBSAZ and its 75 years in Arizona, visit azblue.com/birthday.

foodbank

Wells Fargo Arizona collects more than 19 tons of food

Wells Fargo Arizona’s team members collected 39,328 pounds of food during the company’s statewide food drive that took place June 10-24. The amount of food collected was equivalent to providing 66,124 meals and benefitted Association of Arizona Food Banks members throughout the state at a time when the need is so great.

Food collection bins were placed in all Wells Fargo Community Banking stores, Mortgage and Finance stores and the company’s processing and operations facilities located throughout the state.

Arizona food banks collectively distributed 139.4 million pounds of food in 2013 – equivalent to 72,625 meals per 1,600 sites, or 199 meals each day. People who wish to donate cash can send checks to their local food banks or to the Association of Arizona Food Banks whose mission is to deliver food and quality services to food banks and to foster relationships in support of their commitment to eliminate hunger.

“As America’s – and Arizona’s — Community Bank, we are proud of our 15,000 Arizona team members who continue to be so dedicated to supporting our communities throughout the state,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president for Wells Fargo in Arizona. “Team members collected food, volunteered and truly gave their all for this food drive and it has become an event that all look forward participating in each year.”

Needs of families and individuals around the state continue to be strong, according to the Association of Arizona Food Banks:
· Nearly 1 in 5 Arizonans (17.8%), including more than 1 in 4 children (28.2%), suffer from food insecurity – meaning they do not have regular access to enough food for a healthy, active life.
· Arizona is ranked 6th highest (18.7%) for individuals living in poverty, and 5th highest for children (27%)

“We are very thankful for Wells Fargo’s annual commitment to helping so many through this food drive,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the Association of Arizona Food Banks. “They have been a tremendous supporter and community partner for a long time and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

Produce

Local Non-Profit, Phoenix Public Market, Offers Food Connections

All across Arizona, communities are growing nutritionally. More farmers’ markets are opening in cities statewide, and areas that at first had difficulty finding homegrown and fresh food now have more options close by. A driving force behind this change is the non-profit organization known as Community Food Connections (CFC), based in Phoenix, Ariz.

Cindy Gentry, founder and executive director, started CFC in 2002.

Phoenix Public Market, Photo: Mark Caron

“The motivation was to create opportunities for low-income families, in particular to move beyond needing emergency food assistance by creating programs and developing and supporting policies that increase access to healthy food, while supporting local food production and distribution,” Gentry said.

Since its launch, CFC has gained $600,000 to support two food programs for low-income seniors. They have started a farm-to-school program in Arizona and founded the Phoenix Public Market in 2005.

The Phoenix Public Market, much like Farmers’ Markets across the state, is a unique program and currently the largest open-air market in the state. Local, small-scale agriculture and local artists and crafters showcase their work and products at the market.

farmers market, Photo: Mark Caron

“The difference between our market and many of the others is that it is a program of the non-profit Community Food Connections where we are actively working to create jobs, support micro-business development, help keep farmers on the land and create a vibrant gathering place in what has been a blighted area to-date,” Gentry said. “We are working actively to establish a public market like they have in other great cities of the world.”

CFC is in partnership with other non-profit organizations such as Arizona Homegrown Solutions, the Phoenix Permaculture Guild, the Association of Arizona Food Banks, LISC, and St. Luke’s Health Initiatives. Their work and goals are geared towards self-sufficiency rather than the emergency and supplemental support that many other food programs offer.

“Our goal is to help create community food security – focusing on growing the assets of the community to make it possible for every person to have adequate, affordable, safe and culturally-appropriate food at all times that maximize self-reliance and social justice,” Gentry said.

For more information or to contribute, visit www.foodconnect.org.