Programs February 21st, 2017Sergio Paris
United Food Bank began and continues to exist to alleviate hunger, reduce food insecurity and increase nutritional literacy in the communities served. The most impactful way the Food Bank does this is by collecting, storing and distributing bulk food to a network of agencies, including local food pantries, faith-based organizations and other nonprofits, that then distribute emergency food boxes to those in need. These Emergency Food Boxes help to bridge the gap of available resources for low-income families and individuals on fixed incomes.
The Food Bank provides bulk food to a network of community organizations and agencies in various ways for different programs. This network of agencies then distributes the food through their programs like meal sites, residential facilities, and senior programs.
A mobile pantry is a method of direct client distribution in an organized format, managed either by United Food Bank or by partner agency staff that utilizes a dry / refrigerated truck to provide food that traditional pantries cannot accept or distribute to people in need – usually do to the agency’s storage or refrigeration capacity. The mission of the mobile pantry program is to meet the needs of hungry clients in urban or rural areas by providing food directly in their communities.
This program is designed as an emergency food resource for “First” and “Second” responders like police, firefighters, social and outreach workers, protective services case managers and others who respond to emergency/crises situations, and encounter a family or household without food or food resources. A Helping Hands food box contains enough food to provide for recipients for three days.
United Food Bank currently collaborates with more than 30 after-school programs throughout the East Valley and Eastern Arizona to provide at-risk children with free nutritious meals and snacks. Program sites are Title 1 Schools, community based social organizations or other nonprofit programs that work with at-risk children and youth, offering a variety of after-school educational enrichment programs in a safe environment, these children and youth actively participate in a variety of educational, recreational, social and physical activities that promote learning, fitness and nutrition.
United Food Bank provides food at Title 1 schools throughout the East Valley and Eastern Arizona through its Backpack Program. For low-income children, school often serves as the best way to stay nourished and fed through free and reduced breakfast and lunch. But when school is not in session during the weekend or summer breaks, these children might miss meals. Partner sites identify youth who are at the highest level of food insecurity to participate.
United Food Bank distributes backpacks filled with nutritional, child-friendly non-perishable foods that are ready to eat or easily prepared by the children who receive them. Backpacks are packed at our Volunteer Annex and are distributed to our partner programs the last day before weekends or holidays. Last year, 21,339 backpacks were distributed to hungry children.
Food for Thought
This program was designed as a resource for teachers and educators of Title 1 schools that provide structured extended afterschool or before school mentoring or tutoring programs for at-risk children and youth, to help ensure all children meet challenging state academic standards. The program allows participants to receive prepackaged nutritionally balanced food boxes through their participation in a range of tutoring, mentoring and other educational enrichment activities. Students work to achieve goals and to overcome difficulties that they may be experiencing at school. The “Food for Thought” program is designed to help educators (1) teach work ethic; (2) help motivate children to overcome obstacles to learning; (3) improve a child’s self-esteem; (4) feed the child and his/her family; and (5) promote greater parent/teacher interaction.
Many people in our community live paycheck-to-paycheck or have limited resources. For them, it’s hard to see beyond next week, and budgeting resources to maximize their food-buying dollars is a weekly challenge. Fortunately, United Food Bank has set up the Help Yourself Program. It’s held on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m, excluding holidays. Through Help Yourself, clients can purchase for $20 a variety of fresh meats, produce, dry goods. Clients can also select from additional bonus items like bread, pastries, dairy products, and deli products depending on availability. Clients do not need to meet any criteria or qualifications.