Food is a necessity, but it is not always affordable for some people.
Food banks offer emergency food boxes as a way to feed people in the community, whatever the conditions.
Elderly, has a designated food distribution day, Thursday, at Valley View Food Bank, 10771 W Peoria Avenue, this food bank provides services for people throughout the western valley including in Sun City and Sun City West.
With the COVID-19 pandemic heading into its fifth month, Valley View Food Bank founder Jessie Ramirez said the group averaged nearly 480 people a day.
“We have opened our days more and have a 24-hour program so that when we receive calls from people who need after hours even at night we will immediately help them,” he explained. “They call and if they need, we will meet them at the food bank within 10 minutes and sometimes we get there before they do.”
At present food distribution takes place from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm, with donations received from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm
The current need at Valley View Food Bank is stable food. Ramirez said, the more canned food available, making other foods last longer.
“All kinds of food encouragement and financial donations are of course always appreciated,” he said.
Demand has increased in the field of food distribution. Ramirez said he saw a big increase in April and May with surges of up to 600 people per day, but said somehow the food bank could still meet the needs, even as a smaller organization.
“Miracles happened in Valley View so we bought a lot of food,” said Mr. Ramirez. “Our increase in buying healthy foods has jumped about 25 to 35 percent more so that means we have to spend money to buy enough food.”
Complete nutritious food is provided for people in need. Included in the food box are fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken, beef, stable foods on the shelves, cereals, rice, pasta, hydration products such as juice and milk and provide breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ramirez said that Valley View Food Bank’s monetary damage was worth around $ 300.
“This is one of the best food boxes I have ever seen and one thing we do is look for good nutritious food and not just something to fill your stomach. We follow strict guidelines for nutritious food, “he explained.
Residents from both Matahari Cities take part in food distribution with the average person in his late 50s. Mr Ramirez said of course families often ban food and lately people reach the age of 90.
“We also ship, usually we don’t, but many clients are closed and afraid to leave, but they need food. At present 22 meals a day are being delivered, “said Pak Ramirez.
Food bank visitors don’t have to live in a certain postal code. Identification of photographs and birth certificates for children in need is needed, but Mr. Ramirez said that at this time in the program nothing was rejected.
Before the pandemic, an average of 180 visitors visited Valley View Food Bank. But he said the organization felt like it would get worse and many people were visiting for the first time.
“We offer various programs such as the farmers market and joint maintenance programs. Our emergency lunch box program is allowed twice per month so that other programs they can use as often as they want, “explained Pak Ramirez. “Seniors can get a senior box and get another at the end of the month. I always tell the elderly that they don’t need to go without it. Even if they have used their ration twice a month and you need more food you come to see us and we will help you. Don’t leave without us here. “
Ramirez said after being in the industry for more than 36 years, he understood that many seniors who had worked hard for years and now found themselves in situations where a food bank was needed, could be difficult.
“We want people to know that we care about their situation and a little love for food goes a long way with people and they will be more likely to come back,” he explained. “We always tell people who come to visit is whenever they are in a position where you need us, please use us because you have to have food.”
Food Bank Alliance Mary, 13050 W. Elm Street, has a distribution center that is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 13:30 Currently the organization is calling for volunteers. Activities include food packaging for children’s café programs, on-site food distribution, and emergency food box packaging.
On March 27, the President / CEO of St. Food Bank Mary Tom Kertis said in a statement on the organization’s website, at its peak, the Sr. Food Bank Mary has 3,500 people going to the help page from March 1 to 12. And from March 12 to 26, there were 25,000 visitors to the page. St Mary’s Food Bank’s Director of Public Relations Jerry Brown said, currently the focus on food banks is on water collection. With temperatures soaring, hydration becomes important.
“We are happy to say that each donor has given 100,000 pounds of water only in the past week and it really helped us overcome the difficult times when temperatures were rising, but we can still use a lot of water too,” he explained. “Donations are very good and people have contributed. We can always use cash donations. Every $ 1 allows us to get seven meals in the community and that is always a great thing. A donation of $ 10 can be used to feed 70 people and that’s amazing. “
A typical day between the Surprise location and Phoenix, St. Food Bank Mary provides services to 700 clients per day and that number jumps to 1,000 according to Mr. Brown and rose at 1,500 three to four weeks after the pandemic and remained that road for two months.
“That’s more than twice what we usually see. It had disappeared at the end of June, beginning of July because more people had opened up and people were back at work. But we have seen improvements again because more places have closed down such as fitness centers and bars and other places and more people are losing their jobs now, “Brown explained. “Now we see a few hundred more a day than usual. People live paycheck to paycheck and when they stop working, it affects people.”
Mr Brown explained when the big peak hit in March and April the food bank came at a time of the year when most of the food was in storage because of so many donations in November and December. He said the organization had good supplies and could be distributed, but with Arizona as the center of attention in the event of a massive lockup or closure and a food bank submerged, the same inventory did not exist.
“We want a lot of food in the hands of people who need it and we want people to stay at home when they can. If you don’t work, there is no reason for you to come out if we can provide food in the hands of people, they will be more likely to stay at home and do what needs to be done in this pandemic. We feel like we serve two important functions. Feed people and help stop the spread, “said Mr Brown.
If someone needs food, all that is needed is proof of address, without special financial requirements other than stating the need.
Visit volunteer.firstfoodbank.org or feedingaz.org.