By Rusty Bradshaw
Summer is fast approaching and the Valley View Community Food Bank could be facing a shortage of food to provide to clients.
Each May the West Valley letter carriers encourage residents to donate non-perishable food to be picked up by their letter carrier. The food is then distributed to food banks in the West Valley. However, Valley View will receive none of that donated food this year.
“This is the 13th year we’ve been involved in this drive and it is the second year we have received none of the donations,” said Jesse Ramirez, Valley View Community Food Bank founder and director.
In previous years when they did receive donations, Valley View officials got an average of about 300,000 pounds from the drive, according to Mr. Ramirez.
“This summer will be tough without it,” he said. “St. Mary’s does a good job, we’re not saying they shouldn’t be included in the drive. But not receiving anything is going to mean we’re going to have to reduce the size of our food boxes.”
Even getting assigned one post office would have been helpful, he added.
Last year Valley View was assigned donations from Surprise and Goodyear and received about 32,000 pounds of food.
While Valley View was not assigned an area this year, there are ways residents can help fill the agency’s shelves, according to Marge Clark, Valley View board member. Residents can drop off food donations at the main warehouse and distribution center, 12321 W. Grand Ave., El Mirage; its thrift stores, 10737 W. Peoria Ave., Sun City, and 13526 Camino del Sol, Sun City West; Church of the Palms, 14808 N. Boswell Blvd., Sun City; the Sun City Home Owners Association, 10401 W. Coggins Drive, Sun City; and the Sun City West PRIDES facility, 14630 R.H. Johnson Blvd., Sun City West.
Ms. Clark said Valley View gave out 96,000 food boxes in 2018 and the average family size was five members. In addition, 5,900 people shopped at the food bank’s farmer’s market, where they could buy fresh produce for $10 per box and about 70 people per week utilized the food bank’s seniors program.
“Our clients served is up by 100,000 since 2017,” Ms. Clark said. “We also gave 8,700 holiday food boxes in 2018 and more than 1,000 children received gifts.”
Valley View Community Food Bank serves clients from throughout the Northwest Valley.
The Valley View Board of Directors is also doing its part as each member brings at least one food item to every meeting or other activity they participate in, according to Marvin McCollom, board member.
“We also encourage winter visitors that want to clean out their pantries before they go to bring the food to us,” he said.
Ms. Clark also said residents can make monetary donations, and those will be used exclusively to buy food.
“Our thrift stores are doing quite well and make enough to pay our overhead — rent, utilities and the few salaries we have,” she explained. “Any other funds we take in are used to purchase food above and beyond what we get from donations.”
Even small donations add up, according to Ms. Clark.
“Five-thousand dollars will buy 138,000 pounds of fresh produce,” she said.
Valley View operates thrift stores at the El Mirage main warehouse and one each in Sun City and Sun City West.
Every food donation, not matter how small, will help Valley View officials keep up with the demand, according to Mr. Ramirez.
“We just ask that when they are shopping people be mindful of us and get a little something to donate,” he said.
Residents who want to drop off donations at the El Mirage facility but may find it hard to get to the facility due to construction on the frontage road, Valley View volunteers will pick up donations, according to Mr. Ramirez.
WHERE TO DONATE:
Non-perishable food donations for the Valley View Community Food Bank can be dropped off at the following locations:
• Main warehouse and distribution, 12321 W. Grand Ave., El Mirage
• Valley View Thrift Store, 10737 W. Peoria Ave., Sun City
• Church of the Palms, 14808 N. Boswell Blvd., Sun City
• Sun City Home Owners Association, 10401 W. Coggins Drive, Sun City
• Valley View Thrift Store, 13526 Camino del Sol, Sun City West
• Sun City West PRIDES facility, 14630 R.H. Johnson Blvd., Sun City West