Food and fund drives for Apache Junction Food Bank engage community

Apache Junction Food Bank Board of Directors member Sharon Allison-Brown is chairing this season’s Food and Fund Drive program, which is aimed at collecting non-perishable food. (Photo courtesy of Apache Junction Food Bank)

The Apache Junction Library, the Community Thrift Store, Arnold’s Auto Center, Ace Hardware, the Mirage Restaurant, Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce and Pathway’s Christian Fellowship are all doing it, among dozens of others.

They are conducting food and fund drives for the Apache Junction Food Bank, 575 N. Idaho Road, Suite 701.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for businesses, churches, RV parks, civic groups, neighborhoods and others to join the fight to end hunger,” Sharon Allison-Brown, Apache Junction Food Bank Board member and chair of the 2017 Food and Fund Drive, said.

It may surprise you who is hungry in our community. Despite all the good economic news, many working parents are still under-employed and many seniors have found that they cannot re-enter the job market at all. Someone living next to you is likely without money for food after bills are paid each month. And for those who must buy prescriptions, it’s even tougher as they must choose between eating or taking necessary medications.

“This is the season that doing something to help needy families is top of mind,” Ms. Allison-Brown said. “And right now, our greatest need is food for Christmas – turkeys, hams, whole chickens and any fixings we can get.”

The big food drive boxes have been provided by Right Away Disposal but donors can also drop items off at the food bank and if a substantial amount of food is collected, it can usually be picked up by the food bank.

Packets of information that explain how to conduct a simple drive are available at the food bank or at www.ajfoodbank.org.

The Apache Junction Food Bank provides about 25 pounds of food per person, per month to those who know help is available to them. That amounts to about three to five days of food. Anyone who can put a non-perishable item in one of the Apache Junction Food Bank boxes helps.

The facts are that one in four children in our community don’t get enough calories a day and one in three is growing up in poverty. This affects their ability to learn and has far reaching consequences on their health.

One in six adults are considered “food insecure” and Arizona has the third-highest hunger rate in the nation. About 60 percent of the families who turn to the Apache Junction Food Bank have at least one person in the household employed full-time but recent rent increases have brought them to the food bank.

Items needed most are canned meats, beans, macaroni and cheese boxed means, peanut butter, jelly, cereal, soups, canned fruits and vegetables, bottled water and fruit juice. But through December, holiday food items are also needed.

Financial donations are equally important and keep the doors open. The food bank has estimated that $17 can help feed a family of four for four to five days. There are several easy ways to donate including PayPal or debit cards from the food bank website or dropping off donations.

Recycling yet another way the food bank brings donations in. Plastic bags and bottles, aluminum cans and egg cartons can be dropped by the Food Bank.
Log onto www.ajfoodbank.org and hit the DONATE button for more information about any of these programs.

The Apache Junction Food Bank accepts donations 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays but is closed for lunch. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the food bank is open and can accept donations 8-11:30 a.m.

The organization is a 501(c)3 Arizona qualifying charitable organization. Gifts are tax-deductible – up to $400 per individual and $800 for couples.

E-mail fooddrive@ajfoodbank.org or call the Apache Junction Food Bank at 480-983-2995 for more information.

Editor’s note: JoElle Hurns is the Apache Junction Food Bank’s executive director.

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